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Merci Mercado Chapulines grasshoppers

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What Are The Most Important Pros And Cons Of Eating Insects?

So what do you know about edible insects?

“Insects edible?” you ask. “Maybe for some people. But not for me.”

It’s definitely hard to overcome our innate aversion to creepy crawly things. Even the idea of insects in the same cabinet that our food is in disgusts us.

Insects are repulsive. Squirmy. A sign of filth and uncleanliness. Why would anyone eat them?

Comment: How to increase food security one crispy cricket at a time | E&T  Magazine

Well, turns out that 80% of the world’s population would disagree with you on that. [1] The inhabitants of most parts of Asia and Africa, and even South and Central America, have included insects as a staple of their diet for generations.

Despite this, relatively little is known about insects as a food source. We are aware of their nutritional value, and the requirements for raising them.

But are they really safe to eat? And can we get past the yuck factor?

Let’s explore the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to the world of edible insects.

The good

Eating bugs, as gross as it seems, benefits our bodies and our world in many ways.

Insects are a great source of nutrients

Fruits and Veggies

You may be surprised to learn that edible insects are really very good for you!

The protein content of an insect is 20-76% of dry matter, depending on the insect’s type and development stage [2].

For example, one 3.5 ounce portion of grasshopper typically contains between 14 and 28 grams of protein.

This translates to 25-60% of your recommended daily allowance...from just one small serving of food. [3]

The same size serving of red ants also yields about 14 grams of protein, as well as a whopping 71% of the recommended daily allowance of iron. Crickets, beetles and caterpillars are great sources of these nutrients as well.

Why does this matter?

First of all, protein is life. And that’s no exaggeration. [4]

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It’s the basic building block of every part of your body. Muscles, bones, and skin all count on protein to grow and to repair themselves.

That’s why athletes and bodybuilders go to any lengths possible to fill themselves with it. Shakes, vitamin supplements, and protein bars are popular ways to try to fill in the protein gap.

Protein paired with iron is a true “power couple.” These nutrients combine to form hemoglobin, which is needed to move oxygen to your blood cells. [5] Iron also builds your immune system, and protects your body from anemia.

Eating insect meat is resource efficient

Woman holding plant

As we saw above, protein is an essential nutrient for human survival. So the best use of the earth’s land, water, and other resources is the production of food that provides it.

Beef is generally considered an excellent source of protein and other valuable nutrients. But in fact, 100 grams of beef yields around the same amount of protein as crickets. [6]

Infographic: Insects vs Livestock

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Producing this mere 1 kg of beef also takes a toll on our resources. The process requires an average of about 15 liters of water, in addition to the water used to grow food for the cattle to eat. Raising the same amount of mealworms uses about 4 liters, a full 9 liters less than each kg of beef.

According to a 2006 report of the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the raising of livestock accounts for the use of 70% of agricultural land use worldwide. Insect farming requires a very small space in comparison.

Eating insects can help us secure food for upcoming generations

A bug with the shape of a lock

It’s no secret that a rapidly expanding population is straining the earth’s resources.

In 1800, the world population reached one billion. In a mere 130 years after that, this number doubled itself to reach 2 billion. And it has only picked up speed since then. The world population is estimated to reach 10 billion by 2055. [8]

Infographic: One person out of seven is hungry

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Feeding these burgeoning numbers of people poses a challenge even now. The Food Aid Foundation [9] estimates that one out of every seven people in the world are hungry, meaning they do not access to the nutritious food needed to live a healthy life.

Poor nutrition causes almost half the deaths worldwide of children under the age of five.

We are facing world hunger in spite of the fact that the earth presently produces more than enough food to feed everyone [10].

As the population continues to explode and supplies of available land and water diminish, the problem is only going to worsen. Some sources estimate that the world may no longer produce enough food for everyone as early as 2030, unless dramatic change happens.

The large-scale farming and eating of insects offers a ray of hope in this bleak prognosis.

Requiring very little land and water use, and providing so many of the nutrients needed for life, they may be our best chance to avoid this disaster.

On top of this, children are much more open towards the idea of eating bugs then we are.

Economy - Insect farming can provide a stable income

Dollar illustration

When it comes to producing insects for food, edible insects could level the playing field.

Farming insects does not require a lot of land or expensive machinery. Even the poorest segment of the population in our least developed countries can do it and make a profit.

Insect farming can also provide a stable income to established farmers, who can earn net incomes of between $5000-$10,000 a year in countries where the average gross income is about $5640 per year [11].

Empowering so many underprivileged members of the global economy is a huge societal benefit of the edible insect industry.

Benefits of edible insects

  • Rich in needed protein and iron
  • Less strain on land and water resources
  • A reduction of greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to climate change
  • A potential solution to world hunger and food insecurity
  • A stable income to farmers in developing countries

Adobo

Grasshoppers – Chapulines are one of Mexico’s most emblematic edible insects and have been part of the local Southern Mexican diet for centuries. Today they play an important role in the local gastronomy, society and economy of Oaxaca as well as other Southern states in Mexico.

The Adobo flavor is one of the favorite choices among customers. Our Adobo recipe reflects a beloved and traditional flavor of the Mexican cuisine. You’ll love it too! 

The Merci Mercado grasshoppers / chapulines are completely dehydrated (not fried), giving them a delicious "crunchy taste" that makes them irresistible.

Aside from being delicious, our grasshoppers / chapulines are an excellent source of protein with a light “carbon footprint.” We take pride in knowing that our grasshoppers / chapulines bring a health benefit for you and our planet.

Try them as a stand-alone snack, with your favorite Mexican dishes (such as guacamole, tacos, salsas, quesadillas, enchiladas, etc.), or add a Mexican touch to any dish (pizza, salads, etc.). Why not trying them on your favorite desserts (chocolate, ice cream)? That hint of lime juice is irresistible!

This gourmet food product has met the ENTOTRUST quality and sustainability standards. 

ENTOTRUST is an independent, European organization, certifying the quality of food and beverage products that contain edible insects. The ENTOTRUST seal is assigned only to those products and producers who pass their strict requirements

 What does it mean for you?

-Our products are certified to be safe for human consumption and sustainable.

-The insect protein content in our products has been lab tested and origin verified.

-This Merci Mercado product has been lab tested for absence of any pathogen or unsuitable chemicals.

-Our production facilities have been assessed for very high hygiene and sustainability standards

Chipotle

Grasshoppers – Chapulines are one of Mexico’s most emblematic edible insects and have been part of the local Southern Mexican diet for centuries. Today they play an important role in the local gastronomy, society and economy of Oaxaca as well as other Southern states in Mexico.

The Chipotle flavor is the right choice if you want to add an extra kick to an already well-balanced recipe. Our Chipotle recipe reflects a beloved and traditional flavor of the Mexican cuisine. You’ll love the extra spiciness! 

The Merci Mercado grasshoppers / chapulines are completely dehydrated (not fried), giving them a delicious "crunchy taste" that makes them irresistible.

Aside from being delicious, our grasshoppers / chapulines are an excellent source of protein with a light “carbon footprint.” We take pride in knowing that our grasshoppers / chapulines bring a health benefit for you and our planet.

Try them as a stand-alone snack, with your favorite Mexican dishes (such as guacamole, tacos, salsas, quesadillas, enchiladas, etc.), or add a Mexican touch to any dish (pizza, salads, etc.). Why not trying them on your favorite desserts (chocolate, ice cream)? That hint of lime juice is irresistible!

This gourmet food product has met the ENTOTRUST quality and sustainability standards. 

ENTOTRUST is an independent, European organization, certifying the quality of food and beverage products that contain edible insects. The ENTOTRUST seal is assigned only to those products and producers who pass their strict requirements

 What does it mean for you?

-Our products are certified to be safe for human consumption and sustainable.

-The insect protein content in our products has been lab tested and origin verified.

-This Merci Mercado product has been lab tested for absence of any pathogen or unsuitable chemicals.

-Our production facilities have been assessed for very high hygiene and sustainability standards.

Plain

Grasshoppers – Chapulines are one of Mexico’s most emblematic edible insects and have been part of the local Southern Mexican diet for centuries. Today they play an important role in the local gastronomy, society and economy of Oaxaca as well as other Southern states in Mexico

The Plain flavor is the favorite choice among chefs and restaurant owners as they can build their very own recipes from it!

The Merci Mercado grasshoppers / chapulines are completely dehydrated (not fried), giving them a delicious "crunchy taste" that makes them irresistible.

Aside from being delicious, our grasshoppers / chapulines are an excellent source of protein with a light “carbon footprint.” We take pride in knowing that our grasshoppers / chapulines bring a health benefit for you and our planet.

Try them as a stand-alone snack, with your favorite Mexican dishes (such as guacamole, tacos, salsas, quesadillas, enchiladas, etc.), or add a Mexican touch to any dish (pizza, salads, etc.). Why not trying them on your favorite desserts (chocolate, ice cream)? That hint of lime juice is irresistible!

This gourmet food product has met the ENTOTRUST quality and sustainability standards.

ENTOTRUST is an independent, European organization, certifying the quality of food and beverage products that contain edible insects. The ENTOTRUST seal is assigned only to those products and producers who pass their strict requirements.

 What does it mean for you?

-Our products are certified to be safe for human consumption and sustainable.

-The insect protein content in our products has been lab tested and origin verified.

-This Merci Mercado product has been lab tested for absence of any pathogen or unsuitable chemicals.

-Our production facilities have been assessed for very high hygiene and sustainability standards.

 

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