Vince Lombardi may not like flies in his soup and you may not either, but people all over the world are eating bugs. In fact, they have been for centuries. Even if you don't intentionally dine on insects, odds are you're accidentally consuming them anyway, so why not embrace entomophagy? 

The Background

Entomophagy is the technical term for eating insects. Since humans are descendants of apes, it makes sense that we would continue in their insectivorous footsteps. History states that the Greeks and Romans chowed down on beetle larva, locusts, and cicadas. Entomophagy is even in the Bible: "Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind" (Leviticus 11:22). 

Who's Doing It?

pasture, vegetable, shellfish
Nicole Feretich

In Western society, eating bugs seems out of the question. However, in the continents of Asia, Africa, and South America, bug-based dishes are completely normal-- if not delicacies. This could be in part because proximity to the equator yields larger and more diverse selections of insects.

Westerners see the insects as crop-destroyers and pests, while people living in Thailand, Ghana, Kenya, Japan, Mexico, and Peru (just to name a few) see them as the crop. Jing Leed is a popular cricket-based snack in Thailand, and you can find roasted insect larvae served as high-end dishes in China. Sweet and delicious honeypot ants are a treat to the aboriginal peoples of Australia, and termites are a staple food source in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa. 

Like it or not, the simple truth is that we as Americans consume bugs each time we eat! The FDA actually has guidelines for how many bugs/ bug parts are allowed to be in certain food products; your glass of OJ can legally contain 5 fruit flies and your frozen spinach can contain up to 50 aphids. Red food dye is actually made by crushing thousands of Cochineal insects -- this is a technique that has been used to add color to clothing and food for ages. On top of all that, we eat lobsters and shrimp. These popular fares are arthropods that share the same Phylum as insects (this means they're closely related). 

The Perks

Insects are positively packed with nutrition and tread lightly on the environment in terms of production. Insects are also high in protein, beneficial fats, vitamins, and minerals. Crickets, for example, are high in Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, and breeders can manipulate their vitamin content by feeding them certain fruits and vegetables.

Insects all have an exoskeleton called chitin which serves as a prebiotic fiber source (good for your gut).  Insects are excellent protein sources as well: members of the order Orthoptera (a commonly eaten group which includes crickets and grasshoppers) are 23-65% protein while ants' bodies are 13-77% protein. These percentages are highly comparable to the protein content of other foods such as beef, fish, and mollusks. When we compare the nutrition facts of mealworms and beef, mealworms come out on top in nearly every category. These grubs are comparable in protein content and iron content and have considerably higher vitamin content. 

Insects make the best meals because they require less land area, emit fewer greenhouse gases, and have a much higher feed conversion rate than livestock. For example, one kilo of feed produces twelve times more cricket protein than beef protein. Insects also require significantly less water than the livestock we rely on. These traits provide a sustainable alternative to our typical meat consumption. Insects can be ground into powder to produce versatile high protein products such as pasta and protein bars. 

The Buzz

If you like what you've heard, explore your entomophagy options. Check out these 20 amazing insect recipes at If you're not ready to indulge in a crunchy cricket plate yet, explore your options in the form of cricket flour products offered by Exo or Bugsolutely. After all, bugs may be the food of the future.