Entomology, Department of


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Copyright © 2021 Daniel J. Seckman


The entomophagy field is one that when you immerse yourself in it, you will feel like the entire world is talking about insects as food and feed. Yet, from the outside, the industry is virtually nonexistent. In the United States, the North American Coalition for Insect Agriculture (NACIA) is the leading organization dedicated to growing the insect food and feed sector. While the organization has grown extensively in recent years, most individuals in the food, feed, and entomological industry have never heard of the organization. The Wall Street Journal presents the annual Food Forum, which aims to “tackle the critical issue of sustainability from seed research to farming practices to packaging to the food we eat,” the title of the forum this year is “Sustainability: A Global Imperative.” Guest speakers include some of the leading authorities on how our food is grown, harvested, packaged, and sold. The US Secretary of Agriculture will be joined by the CEOs of Nestle, Archer-Daniels-Midland, and Danone. Yet, not a single speaker represents the entomophagy industry, and the agenda fails to consider the option of an insect as food or feed in its list of topics to be discussed (The Wall Street Journal, 2021). But, a trend is taking shape in Western cultures, and an industry is developing. Ynsect, a French company specializing in breeding insects for feed for production animals, has secured more than $250,000 in investment capital since its founding in 2011 (Ernst Young, 2019). In the United States, companies such as Entomo Farms, EnviroFlight, NextProtein, and many more are spearheading an initiative to transform America’s adversity to insects as food. Through direct sales to restaurants and on websites, they are reaching consumers who have evolved from food pioneers into individuals directly interested in the nutritional benefits of insect consumption. One of the most receptive audiences to early insect food adoption has been from athletes. Bodybuilders focused on high nutrient, and protein diets have found insect protein bars, and cricket powders have quickly integrated insects into their diets. Other athletes are following their lead. Mainstream society remains elusive. Even those deemed to be one of the 100 most influential. Adoption of insect-based foods is mandatory, if not inevitable. Suppose the universe created by Nolan in Interstellar holds true, and mankind may face extinction through starvation (or through planetary destruction). In that case, the time to adopt sustainable entomophagous practices could not come soon enough. To avoid what may become a catastrophic misstep in the evolution of humankind, societies will need to set aside their prejudice, ignorance, and disgust.