John Chambers, the former well known long-term CEO of Cisco Systems, believes that in 10 years’ time, everyone will be eating insects. Entomophagy or most commonly known as the practice of eating insects is practiced by two Billion people on a daily basis. It still sparks a debate though, whether it should be considered a norm or not, especially in a western culture where it is not widely accepted nor embraced.
Chambers’ take on it lies in the premise that the human population is exploding to an expected nine billion by 2050. The world may not be able to feed itself by 2050 or even 2030 if it doesn’t increase food productivity, according to a 2014 report from the Global Harvest Initiative (GHI).
Why Eating Insects Will be the Norm
According to Chambers, crickets would be the next ideal source of protein. He even added that “Our bodies digest protein from insects or meat much easier than we do from traditional plants. Ten years from now insects will be the source of the majority of the protein our bodies will absorb.”
“This is a call to action,” said Margaret Zeigler, executive director of GHI, a private sector agriculture group with members that include Monsanto, John Deere, DuPont, and the World Wildlife Fund. To address this growing food shortage dilemma, a startup company has stepped up in order to present a possible new type of food that is innovative, healthy, and at the same time, delicious.
Companies Pioneering Entomophagy
Aspire Food Group is a well-known startup company that is leading the industry in insect farming technology and automation. The world’s first automated cricket farm in Texas aims to help food sustainability and end food insecurity by introducing entomophagy to a larger audience.
Using internet-of-things (IoT) and proprietary sensor technology, the company co-founded by Mohammed Ashour, was able to create and sell roasted crickets, cricket flour, and cricket granolas.
Aspire Food Group began raising crickets in 2013 and from thereon the process and techniques of transforming insects as an alternative protein grew bigger and better.
According to Ashour, “We basically mapped out the entire journey of cricket from hatch to batch and looked at every opportunity to collect data and apply automation.”
He also added, “We’ve established ourselves as the leader in developing the infrastructure for farming insects for human consumption because we have to make this more cost-effective and scalable. We could now set up a farm anywhere in the world and be confident that we could produce the same output with the same level of fidelity.”’
Cisco CEO John Chambers puts his Wallet where his Mouth is
The continuous success that Aspire Food Group is experiencing right now will not be possible without the companies and the people that supported its vision. One of the investors of the Texas-based company is none other than Chambers.
After making Cisco a huge success in the industries of communications and information technology, Chambers is now focusing on helping startup companies that are making an impact on the world especially through mobility, big data, artificial intelligence, and cloud computing.
Moreover, he believes that the bold idea of Aspire Food Group to feed the world with edible insects will definitely make a bold impact in the future.
Why Should People Be A Fan Of Edible Insects?
Eating insects is unfamiliar territory for most people but it has been a practice done ever since. Compared to regular meat, insects are much cheaper, could be elevated in many ways, and can produce a large amount of protein.
A 1-kilogram of termites can offer 350 grams of protein and a 1-kilogram of caterpillar can provide 280 grams of protein.
Reports have suggested that over 1,900 species of insects are okay for human consumption. The following are the common types of edible insects:
- Bees, wasps, and ants
- Grasshoppers and crickets
Restaurants And Their Famous Insect Dishes
Many restaurants around the world have already tried to experiment cooking insects. They elevate insect dishes, making it acceptable for the human palate.
Noma – A well-known chef named, Rene Redzepi, runs the two-Michelin-star restaurant in Copenhagen, Denmark. The restaurant has been making mouth-watering dishes since 2003, and now, it is presenting a new meal called Queen Ant Egg Tostada.
The Black Ant – The Black Ant is a modern Mexican joint that has been putting an artistic spin on traditional dishes. Chefs Mario Hernandez and Jorge Guzman head the restaurant the famous restaurant in New York City. It has a new dish that everyone is talking about, the Black Ant Guacamole.
Grub Kitchen – It is the first insect restaurant in Britain. The startup restaurant is getting their produce from local farms. Andrew Holcroft is the Head Chef of Grub Kitchen. Their famous insect dish is the Cricket, Mealworm, and Grasshopper Burger.
These restaurants are just some of the many that have innovated their menus. However, edible insects do not have to be in an upscale level just for a people to accept it. They could be on everyone’s plates every day.
Aspire Food Group is still in the early stage of its mission to save the world from starving in the future. Its approach may seem unconventional at first but eventually eating edible insects will be the new norm.