Friday, October 7, 2016

Soylent Crickets - The Cricket in your Cereal Bowl

Have you ever considered how the world feeds 7.2 billion people today?

How about the expected 9.6 billion people by the year 2050?

1 in 9 people do not have enough food

Well, people are thinking about this and one of the answers is … Crickets!

Yes, crickets! The food production capacity of earth is finite … or is it?

With advances in hydroponics, vertical farming, and yes genetically modified organisms (GMO) there will continue to be advances in “traditional” framing.

However, it’s not enough. There is a need to get more and more yield from increasingly scarce resources - notably land and water.

What’s the solution?

Well, there is no single answer, but one solution is … BUGS!

“Some 795 million people in the world do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life. That's about one in nine people on earth. The vast majority of the world's hungry people live in developing countries, where 12.9 percent of the population is undernourished.” Source: World Food Programme

This Breakthrough Byte segment talks about how science is coming to the rescue. Read on for the extended conversation. We don’t try to cover everything in the 20 minutes on the radio show. We want to leave a little more for you to read, think about and possible take action upon. Read on! Add your thoughts in the comments too. And … tune in to the First Monday of the Month at 9am Pacific Time.

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Consider for a moment what’s in your breakfast bowl.

  • Would you be alarmed to know that you are eating something that was grown on a farm?
  • Would you be alarmed to know what you are eating may not be derived from plants (wheat, corn, oats, etc.)?
  • Would you be surprised to know it might have been grown on a very small farm that takes up less space, less water, and less of everything. Yet … produces MUCH more protein and nutrition (amino acids, etc.) than traditional farming.

Why does this matter?

It’s simple. I’m sorry to be the one to tell you, but … it’s not all about you. It’s not all about the wealthy countries either. There are close to 800 million people that have Food Insecurity. That’s 1 in 9 people on earth. We can do better.

1 in 9 people on earth are experiencing food insecurity right now
Source: World Food Programme

Bugs can help!

Together, using science, we can change lower this statistic with a goal getting it to ZERO!

Comparing Cows and Crickets

These are the facts and figures to raise 1 pound of each
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As a research project … I encourage you to find these numbers for pigs and chickens.

Bug Related Products are on the Move

Pun intended. There is still room to grow this market, but with over 1500 types of bugs that have been identified as edible there is a lot of room to grow … your palette. Note: There are over edible 250 insects commonly eaten in Mexico.

What do they taste like?

This is the most commonly asked question. And, as noted below is directly related to getting past The Ick! Factor.

Here are a few examples:

  • Crickets taste kind of nutty. Note: they take on the flavor of what they eat AND what they are cooked with.
  • Arachnids (yes, spiders) taste a bit like shellfish. Which makes sense given their evolution
  • Scorpions taste like beef jerky
  • Sago Grubs taste like … bacon!

For more on what bugs taste like see Bugible

Crickets Pack a Protein Burst

imageCricket Bars – As expected, these are made with Cricket Flour. They have 3X more protein than (beef) steak. It takes about 26 crickets to make one bar. You can get these on Amazon, Jet and other retailers.

imageCurrently Cricket Flour --- which is available at Amazon and other retailers sells for about $16 a pound. Which is about 16x more than traditional plant based flour. Over time this will change and become more in parity with each other. As always there is a supply and demand issue. Eventually the idea of bug based staples in our diet will become the norm.

A Few Questions and Points

These will continue to come up until the

  • Getting Past The Ick! Factor
    • This one isn’t easy. The fact that they are being grown and processed into flour and other forms (very much like cow, pig and chicken farming) helps.
  • How to make them taste better?
    • The good news is … Crickets especially … take on the flavor of what they eat. Feed them mint, lemon, chiles … and they will take on this flavor.
    • Fun fact: Crickets, like most insects, are scavengers. Which means they will eat anything. Including the malt, hops and barley dregs from a beer making process. Think about that for a moment.
  • What do they eat?
    • As noted above insects are generally scavengers and will eat whatever they can find. Like most proper farming techniques they are fed quality foods so that they will produce quality feed.

Have you got a craving to go out and try a few bugs?

Have you gotten a taste for what it might be like?

Who is eating bugs?

imageBugs aren’t just for the fringe types and the Bear Grylls types.

Chefs, Farmers, Sustainability Experts and Adventure Eaters are embarking on and entertaining their inner entomologist.

Fitness enthusiasts are also getting into bugs. Cricket Bars, as noted above, pack a protein wallop. Cricket Mix for shakes and other foods is catching on and getting legs (pun intended).

Keep in Mind:
By 2050 we will need 50% MORE FOOD to feed the 9.6B people

As with every Breakthrough Byte segment I break it down into Pros, Cons and ROI. You may disagree with these points and if you do please drop a comment here so we can start a discussion.

Cons

  • The Freakout Factor / The Ick! Factor
  • Economic Impact of reducing cow, pig, and chicken production (industries will change)

Pros

  • Using resources more efficiently (notably land and water)
  • Overall efficiency of food production
  • Much more bang for the buck

ROI

  • Investments in Alternative Food Sources
  • Added Bonus: Space Travel – Bugs do well in space
  • Reduce food insecurity - Better Nutrition for a growing global population

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image credits: Michele Price, BBSRADIO, Bear Grylls

clip_image001Jeff is business advisor, mentor and community engagement expert. He has spent most of his career in the Enterprise Content Management industry. He brings over 20 years of Channel Sales, Partner Marketing and Alliance expertise to audiences around the world in speaking engagements and via his writing. He has worked for Microsoft, Kodak, and K2.

Tweet him
@jshuey or connect on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Google+ He is active in the Microsoft Partner Community and is the co-founder and President of the IAMCP Seattle chapter.

He is a contributing author to
Entrepreneur, Elite Daily, Yahoo, US News and to the Personal Branding Blog

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