Hexbyte Tech News Wired
The insects appeared at my Chicago doorstep in swarms. Crickets, grasshoppers, locusts, mealworms, ants—all of them dead on arrival, entombed in resealable bags and glass jars. Before long, my apartment was overrun with bugs, and soon all of my meals would be too. I had summoned this infestation, ranging from whole dried insects to bug-based chips, granola, and protein bars, for the greater good. These are the spoils of an oft-touted emerging sector of the US food industry, projected by some market researchers to be worth $126 million by 2023 and repeatedly proposed as a solution to our impending global food crisis: edible insects.
Though 2 billion people around the globe dine on more than 1,900 edible bug species, the fare only trickled into the Western world in the late aughts through a subset of early adopters: doomsday preppers, hardcore Paleo dieters, protein-loading endurance athletes. Now, renowned restaurants such as Noma in Copenhagen, D.O.M. in São Paulo, and Mi Tocaya Antojería in Chicago have introduced bugs on their menus. When toasted grasshoppers were offered by the cupful at Seattle Mariners games last season, fans swallowed approximately 18,000 critters in three games, leading the ballpark to set a per-game order limit. Kroger, the nation’s largest supermarket chain, recently inked a distribution deal with Chirps, maker of cricket-flour chips.