We should all be eating crickets by now. No protein source is simply more sustainable than this gateway bug, fast making its ascendancy into mainstream diets as cricket flour-fueled protein bars and baked goods take more than TED Talks by storm. Cricket farmers, however, are struggling to meet demand and lower their product’s price in the process.

“Insects are already consumed by 80 percent of the world’s cultures throughout Asia, Africa, Central and South America, basically everywhere but the U.S. and Europe,” Megan Miller, founder of San Francisco-based Bitty Foods, which sells baked goods made from cricket flour, told Chicagoist.

In 2013, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization published a report concluding that edible insects like mealworms, crickets and grasshoppers have the potential to stabilize the global food supply as the population skyrockets and available agricultural land mass diminishes. Crickets also contain the essential amino acids lysine and tryptophan found in only trace amounts in proteins like beef and chicken. And although crickets contain about half the protein as traditional livestock, they emit far less greenhouse gases and, needless to say, their farms take up less space than your typical cattle ranch, leaving more forests intact.

 

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