Is eating insects the answer to global hunger?

Last updated at 11:35
Exotic food with fried tarantulas and cockroaches, insectsGetty Images
Scientists think insects could help fight hunger.

Would you swap your steak and chips with a plate of mealworms to help combat the challenges of climate change?

By 2050, the world's population is likely to increase to 9.7 billion, so current food production will need to double.

But droughts around the globe, linked to climate challenge, are putting food production at risk.

Reducing the amount of meat we eat is important because food production accounts for about a quarter of all human-related greenhouse gas emissions, and is predicted to rise.

In western countries, this could mean eating 90% less beef and five times as many beans and pulses.

But some scientists are also encouraging us to eat some creepy crawlies too. They believe insects could help fight world hunger and malnutrition because they are abundant, healthy, and have less of a carbon footprint.

woman eating fried cicada insectGetty Images
Eating insects is an ancient tradition which still happens today. Two billion people, more than a quarter of the world's population, eat insects.
Here are 4 reasons why we should eat insects:

Healthy

Insects are filled with lots of good nutrients, including amino acids and protein. Crickets, grasshoppers, and mealworms contain more copper, zinc, magnesium and calcium than beef!

There are loads

There are a LOT of insects in the world. Some people put the number at 10,000,000,000,000,000,000... which is 10 quintillion!

Better for the environment

Agriculture produces a lot of greenhouse gases and farming insects doesn't require as much land and water as traditional agriculture does. Insect farming is already happening in Africa.

Money makers

Insects provide an opportunity for new ideas in business and the technology and scale of edible insect farming is improving. Insects can be eaten raw or processed into powders. Several new businesses in the Netherlands, South Africa and Kenya have been set up to focus on making insects for human food.

Close up of women eating fried insectsGetty Images
Edible insects could be the solution to both global food shortages and reducing emissions from animal agriculture.