When investigating the difference between bugs and beef it is not hard to find information related to the benefits of consuming edible insects. The three main factors that are used to compare eating insects to eating beef include the protein and nutrients each may or may not contain, the amount of food and water each consumes to produce edible product and the amount of space required in farming one or the other. When using these three measurements it is easy to see why insects are viewed as a safe and healthy alternative to traditional protein sources.
The Nutritional Difference Between Bugs And Beef
Insects and animals (cattle in particular) are vital food sources of nutrients we need in our bodies. This includes the eight essential amino acids (tryptophan, methionine, isoleucine, lysine, valine, threonine, leucine and phenylalanine), some vitamins and minerals. Edible insects rate high in protein with levels that compare close to that found in cattle and milk. In fact, there is about 21-grams of protein in 100-grams of crickets. Beef contains approximately 26-grams of protein in 100-grams of meat and there are 26-grams of protein in 100-grams of powdered whole milk. What sets edible insects apart is that they also contain a high concentration of fat per 100-grams which makes a serving of crickets higher in calories which can contribute to a healthy diet.
Comparing Production Costs Of Bugs Versus Beef
The amount of land and water required to grow food to feed cattle is far greater than what is needed to feed crickets. For example, hayfields produce feed for cattle and they require 8-grams of food to gain 1-gram in weight. Insects, such as crickets, require less than 2-grams of food to produce 1-gram of weight. Another way to look at this is to imagine a container in an indoor cricket farm with hundreds of insects measuring about the size of a single bale of hay. One 75-pound square bale of hay will feed a 1,800-pound cow for one day. This makes farming insects a better environmental choice.
The Farming Difference Between Bugs And Beef
Not only do insects require less space for food production, they also occupy less space overall. Plus, they can reproduce quickly and have shorter life spans. The shorter life span means a cricket farm can produce more insects and quicker. An average cricket farm can produce up to 15-hundred eggs in a three to four week period. This means that a good cricket farmer can have a weekly rotation of egg laying, hatching and maturing crickets in a constant cycle. Cattle on the other hand take up to four breeding animals for each cow that goes to market and breeding cycles are closer to once per year. Add to this the fact that insects receive water directly from their food and produce significantly less greenhouse gases that cattle and it becomes clearer that edible insects are much more affordable to produce that beef from cattle.
One More Thing
In a form of recycling, insects such as crickets, grasshoppers, flies and beetles have one more advantage. They can eat agricultural waste and plants that neither cattle nor humans can. What this means is that humans and insects are not competing for the same food supply. But what is interesting to note is that cattle, poultry and pork are fed a diet that contains grain and corn, which are also components in the normal human diet. When we factor in all of these differences between bugs and cattle is becomes obvious that there is something to the movement to use edible insects as a way to solve world hunger.