By 2050, the world population is expected to grow to more than 9.8 billion, forcing us to increase our overall food production levels by 70%. When it comes to protein, the current system of raising livestock is having great detriment on our environment and will ultimately be unsustainable under its current trajectory.

We either all need to cut back on our meat consumption or we need new a new means of efficient, large-scale protein cultivation. The latter is probably more likely. One solution that is becoming abundantly clear is the cultivation and preparation of edible insects.

In 2013, the UN released a groundbreaking, 200-page report outlining a viable solution: edible insects. The report shocked the entire Western scientific community into a new line of thinking. As a result, a huge influx of entopreneur (insect entrepreneurs) were inspired to take action.

What’s an Entopreneur?

Entopreneurs exist in so many forms. They exist as commercial cricket farmers, like Aspire Food Group. They exist as personal mealworm farmers, using at-home farming technology from LIVIN Farms. From the farm to the table, entopreneurs such as EXO protein bars and Seek Food’s cricket flours are finding ways to make insects more palatable. There are even chefs creating insectcookbooks, empowering anyone to turn bugs into breakfast.

This is one of those economies where simple innovations will be heavily rewarded, as there are so many different opportunities.

You’re probably wondering if there’s actually any money in this game. The short answer is: yes. The long answer is: not currently, but the global market is expected to grow at an incredible rate from $400 million today to $8 billion by 2030.

Who’s actually eating bugs?

Well, the UN estimates that over 2 billion people worldwide consume insects as one of their main sources of protein. In Thailand, most public markets will have a wide array of insect vendors – selling a variety of seasoned, cooked, and prepared bugs. In tropical climates, many people seek rotten, dead palm trees, breaking them open in search of palm weevil larvae. Even in parts of rural Japan, there are rich traditions of wasp cultivation – specifically eating the buttery larvae.

For us Westerners, we have a large cultural barrier to overcome before we dive into a bowl of cricket stew. Many of us are raised to see an insect and want to kill it. We don’t tolerate bugs in our houses. We don’t tolerate bugs in our kitchens. Western culture is a culture that wants nothing to do with bugs. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t change.

If the price of insect-sourced food comes down below our other options, then more people will start testing the waters. Once more and more recipes come out that make insect-sourced food palatable, then more people will start being convinced. And ultimately, if we mask the fact that we’re eating bugs, then there isn’t a single person who won’t get on this edible insect wave.

For the time being, we’ll likely use insects as animal feed for our pets and livestock. But hey, if it’s good enough for our dogs, shouldn’t it be good enough for us?

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