From icky bugs to good grubs, the Los Angeles Times explains why more people are eating insects:
Gillian Spence plunges her hand into a shallow tray of 10,000 writhing mealworms. She comes up with a handful of the inch-long, beige-colored grubs, which squirm over and between her fingers.
Most are destined to become bait for fish or food for reptilian pets. But not all of them.
“A lot of orders now are going to restaurants,” she says.
Spence’s Compton company, Rainbow Mealworms, supplies the mealworms and their larger, feistier cousins, called superworms, to a number of edible-insect businesses across the country. One, called Hotlix, puts them inside lollipops.
Mealworms and superworms aren’t actually worms at all — they’re the larval forms of two species of darkling beetles. They’re also two of the roughly 1,900 insect species that are good for people to eat, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization.
Mealworms and superworms are rich in protein, amino acids and vitamins and minerals like potassium and iron. Plus, they have less fat and cholesterol than beef.
These and other insects are also considered an environmentally friendly source of protein because they can be raised on a fraction of the land and water required for traditional livestock, like cattle.
That’s clear at Rainbow Mealworms. At its complex of small houses, millions of beetles — in all life stages from larvae to adults — live in trays stacked on 8-foot-tall racks that look like they belong in a bakery. Each tray teems with thousands of insects nestled in a bed of whole wheat bran, which they eat, and fresh baby carrots, which they nibble on for water…
[continues at the Los Angeles Times]