Edible insects hit supermarket shelves in the UK
Sainsbury’s has become the first British supermarket chain to stock edible insects in a bid to boost sustainable food sources that produce fewer greenhouse gases.
“Insect snacks should no longer be seen as a gimmick or something for a dare,” said Rachel Eyre, head of future brands at Sainsbury’s.
“It’s clear that consumers are increasingly keen to explore this new sustainable protein source,” Eyre said in a statement.
Nutritionists and scientists have long touted insect consumption for humans as a sustainable and cheap source of protein - though snacking on bugs is a stomach-churning prospect for many.
Insects can be a rich source of fat, protein, vitamins, fibre and minerals, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Global population growth and an expanding middle class have raised per-capita meat consumption by 50 percent over the past four decades, but critics say the trend is environmentally unsustainable.
There are also worries about the environmental impact of intensive crop farming and commercial fishing.
“As the population increases, we urgently need to look at alternative protein sources to make the most of land available for food production,” said Duncan Williamson, a global food system expert at environmental group WWF UK.