Nutrient-dense, and surprisingly delicious, insects are the sustainable source of protein for the future. They’re set to revolutionize the way people feed livestock, pets, and even their fellow humans – and it’s all happening now.
Although widespread adoption of insect-based foods is still on the horizon, many companies have already started farming insects for protein. Better yet, they’re using all that tasty protein to create innovative products for all to enjoy.
So, if you’re not yet on board with this alternative protein source, it’s definitely time to explore the benefits and possibilities this change offers. Here’s what you need to know as the world moves forward with insect protein farming.
History of Farming Insects for Protein
Largescale insect protein farming operations are relatively new, but humans have been eating insects since the beginning of time. Eating insects started with the earliest hunters and gatherers, of course, as they found safe food sources by watching animals forage around.
Ancient Greeks and Romans took the practice one step further by raising beetle larva on a diet of wine and flour, and then grubbing on them once they were perfectly plump. Paiute Indian tribes trapped crickets in straw-lined trenches. Then, they set fire to the straw to char them up for their protein-rich bread-making process.
To this day, many cultures across the globe still enjoy traditional insect-based foods, like:
- Sugar- and soy-sauce covered aquatic flies
- Fire-roasted tarantulas
- Agave worms wrapped in tortillas
- Bee larva straight from the hives
- Winged termites made into bread
Only people in the United States and Europe continue to drag their feet in adopting insect protein farming practices.
But all that is set to change, starting with the animal feed world. Forward-thinking pet food manufacturers, like Jiminy’s, are already leading the way by using insects as the main protein source in their products.
On the other side of the equation are the livestock feed processing firms, like InnovaFeed. Through their partnership with Archer Daniels Midland, they plan to build the biggest insect protein facility in the world right in the heart of Illinois. Together, they will create over 60,000 metric tons of sustainable animal feed each year plus nutrient-rich oils and fertilizer.
Most Common Insects Farmed for Protein
All in all, over 1,900 different types of insects are edible. But that doesn’t mean they are all well-suited for farming or widespread use in insect-based foods for people and animals.
So, to best dial in their efforts, insect farming firms have launched their operations with a focus on the three following insect types.
Crickets are a phenomenally nutritious source of protein, providing all nine essential amino acids in every serving. Like mealworms, they take very little space, water, and other resources to grow and process. The crickets work best for food products when ground into fine powder.
Using that powder, it’s possible to make everything from crackers to dog food, making it a truly versatile building block for the food industry.
Black Soldier Flies
Black soldier flies serve as an excellent source of protein for livestock of all kinds, including poultry, pigs, and even farmed fish. The flies require very little water and feed off byproducts created while processing corn. Upon harvesting the flies, the manufacturers use them to create a protein-rich grind plus oil that helps bind animal feed together.
Mealworms have a slightly sweet, nutty flavor that makes them a great introduction to the world of insect-based foods. They’re also wildly easy to grow, harvest, and process, all while taking up very little space and using minimal resources. As a protein source, these insects are often roasted or dried, and then eaten whole or ground up for the creation of many different food products.
Insect farming operations will likely bring in even more types of insects as they achieve great success with their products. The benefits will speak for themselves, after all, opening the doors for new insect-based food products for both people and animals.
Benefits of Insect Farming
Insect farming greatly benefits people, animals, and the world as a whole. By embracing insect-based foods for your pets, livestock, and family, it’s possible to enjoy all the following benefits.
Decrease Your Carbon Footprint
By switching to insect-based foods for your pets and beyond, it’s possible to dramatically decrease the carbon footprint of your household. In comparison to traditional farming practices, farming insects for protein uses less water, land, and other resources. Furthermore, it reduces the production of greenhouse gases that are rapidly accelerating global warming.
Get True Relief from Allergies
If you have any food or environmental allergies in your household, then insect protein is a no-brainer. Unlike animal-derived protein, insects do not elicit an allergic response in people, pets, or other animals. For that reason, insect-based foods for pets work well for elimination diets designed to help you track down the offending allergen. Many pets never end up going back to their original kibble, however, after experiencing the benefits of eating insect-based foods.
Enjoy a Big Boost of Nutrients
Although the term gets thrown around a lot lately, insects really are a superfood. They provide all the essential amino acids in all the right ratios. Beyond that, a single serving of insects offers three times as much protein as beef and double the iron in spinach. Despite the big boost of nutrients, insects prove highly digestible, allowing sensitive individuals to say goodbye to regular stomach aches.
Jet into the Future of Farming
Do you enjoy being an early adopter of all the newest tech? If so, then you cannot miss the chance to spread the word about the future of insect protein farming. As new insect farming facilities spread across the United States and Europe, it’s only a matter of time before insect-based foods become a widespread phenomenon. So, what better way to say you were there first than trying all the newest insect protein products as they hit the market?
With all these potential benefits awaiting you, it’s definitely time to start seeing what insect protein farming can do for you and your animals.
Where to Find Insect-Based Food for Dogs
If you’d like to start your journey into the world of insect-based foods by treating your pets to the best of the best, just look to Jiminy’s for the leading solutions. Top-quality dog food and treats are the name of the game, giving you plenty of ways to give back to your furry friends. You can even shop the bundles to try out several different varieties with just one order. So, take a peek and get ready for a truly incredible experience as you enjoy all the benefits of insect-based foods.