Hypothetical: A Portuguese designer creates a food source from primary ingredients that are in abundant global supply. It’s a high protein powder. It’s good for you and good for the environment. Do you eat it?
Here’s the catch: this superfood is made from the paste of ground-up dung beetles and crickets.
Here’s the other catch: this isn’t a hypothetical.
A Portuguese designer, Susan Soares, is using 3D printing technology to make insects more palatable.
There is a wholly rational argument for eating creepy-crawlies. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization believes bug eating is the right strategy to adopt; as the world’s population grows, a new food source is required, and bugs are already squirming around on every continent and in every climate. It makes sense to embrace entomophagy, the practice of raising insects as food, on a global scale.
But many people don’t want to be in the same room as bugs, let alone eat them, which is why Soares is attempting to disguise bug paste inside 3D printed designs that look like fancy, futuristic wafers shaped like honeycombs and durians.
This prejudice against eating insects is utterly irrational, and many cultures do already eat arthropods. Snails, oysters, shrimp, and lobster were all once considered disgusting, and now they are beloved treats. Soares’ goals are admirable, although when it comes to actually getting people to eat insects on a larger scale, 3D printing beautiful but somewhat sterile edible structures is probably not the way to go.
Here are better ways to get people to eat insects:
- Deep fry and wrap in bacon.
- Tell them it’s “weird shrimp.”
- Mix cricket and dung beetle paste in with normal protein powder. That stuff tastes disgusting anyways.
- Sauté and wrap in bacon.
- Fricassee and wrap in bacon.
- Only let people eat bacon after they’ve eaten a bite of cricket paste.