The world population is growing by 80 million a year and is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050. There will be 2 billion more people in the world and we won’t be able to produce enough protein to feed everyone with our current food system. Our natural resources are being depleted exponentially. There is no other way around it, our diet will have to change. How? We don’t know. But eating insects is the easiest significant improvement we as humans can do.
Why is protein production not sustainable?
Right now, most of our protein comes from livestock meat, majority of which is produced in factory farms. Animals, and cattle especially, are the most inefficient source of protein and their mass farming contributes to climate change.
Plants require less energy, water, and land (1), but there’s one issue: they produce protein that’s nutritionally inferior to meat. Also, we don’t eat whole crops. Plant farming produces a huge amount of organic waste that would be left to rot if there wasn’t for animals. Think of every grain of white rice that you consume, where do you think the bran ends up? Animals, insects especially, can thrive on this type of waste which limits their contribution to the overall footprint on our planet.
Insects are the kings of sustainability
As you know from our previous article, insect protein doesn’t suffer the same issue as plant-based proteins. It’s the same quality as animal protein and unbelievably more sustainable on top of that. If we compare beef protein with cricket protein, the difference is almost shocking. To produce the same amount of protein as cattle, crickets need 12x less feed, 15x less land, 2000x less water, and produce 100x less greenhouse gasses (2). Plus crickets can be fed food waste, like banana peels or rice bran that would have otherwise been thrown away.
Insects are a part of our vision for a sustainable future
Insects are undoubtedly the most sustainable way to produce high quality protein at the moment. The problem is nearly no one in the western world eats them. Our insect-based bars are only an entry product, we feel that insects should become a normal part of our diet and we are passionate about spreading that message. Our vision is to change the western diet to be better and more sustainable, that’s the reason we founded SENS.
1) David Pimentel and Marcia Pimentel, ‘Sustainability of meat-based and plant-based diets and the environment’, The Journal of Nutrition 2003, http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/78/3/660S.full
2) FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN), ‘Edible insects – Future prospects for food and feed security’, Rome 2013, http://www.fao.org/docrep/018/i3253e/i3253e.pdf