Working Out the Bugs–of Eating Insects


As the world becomes more advanced and developed, middle classes from India and China are beginning to consume larger amounts of protein which requires more herds of animals. These animals harm the environment and cause climate change. They also consume a large portion of food that could be used for a better cause. So what is the new substitute? Insects.

Many international chefs have tried to introduce insect eating to the Western culture but have failed to entice Americans, but four students from the Royal College of Art and Imperial College in London are approaching the issue differently. They see the problem as a design issue: How do you make bugs more appealing? This London-based startup called, “Ento” (derived from the Japanese “bento”) wants to “squash” Westerners’ aversion to eating insects.
So how do you get Americans to eat insects? Their approach is to take presentational cues from sushi—such as bite-sized pieces and cubes placed into bento boxes. Some of their menu items include honey caterpillar rolls which is comprised of fried wax worms, that taste like pistachios, flattened like tamago (egg omelet), thenwrapped around chopped carrots and radish. Buffalo caterpillar bread cube is a mix of powdered buffalo worms and bread ingredients. Grasshopper mini-pie includes fresh thyme, coriander seed, sea salt, and minced locust to create a salty meaty texture. Overall, insects seem to be a great substitute for daily protein. The four students write that bugs are, “much more space and energy efficient than traditional livestock and will happily eat and the crops we don’t want” they are also “high in protein, low in fat and cholesterol, and rich in nutrients like omega-3”.
Co-founder, Jonathan Fraser and his colleagues held a public tasting last summer. He explains that, “people thought the food would look weird and scary” but it went well. Fraser says that, “We changed their expectations.” Their next step is to hopefully open a restaurant, making bug bentos available, worldwide.