Two billion people already eat insects as part of their regular diet – bugs may not sound appealing, but once upon a time neither did sushi. Is it time to put ants, beetles and locusts on the menu?
From the high windows of a warehouse in southern Spain a shaft of light falls on the white-gloved hand of insect farmer Laetitia Giroud. She is holding a large cricket, which sits perfectly still above the plastic box that is home to hundreds of its relatives. They’re chirping to each other, giving the industrial unit a gently bucolic air. Nearby are another 30 or so boxes, filled with mealworms, black soldier flies and grasshoppers. “They have a great life,” says Giroud, smiling at the elegantly poised insect. “They just eat and make love, eat and make love.”
Paris-born Giroud unabashedly romanticises her charges, cooing over how “beautiful” the mealworms are and how they smell like honey. But she also has the practical attitude of a farmer and looks amused when I ask how many insects she has. “How many? I don’t know. A million? They’re not like pigs or cows. We’re planning to raise 15-20 tonnes a year.”
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