PNAS On The Eat Your Bugs Bandwagon

Looks like PNAS has gone wokey PC. An article (hard to call it science…) explaining how to fool people into eating insects. Does let you know that some Name Chefs are going to be working bugs into their food; and that some meat packers are going to start mixing it with their burgers & such.

And here I thought food inspection laws and inspectors were supposed to keep bugs OUT of the food…

Notice that it may not say “bugs” in the ingredients. You will need to know the names of a LOT of different bugs. Like “contains locust” … not to be confuse with the “Locust Bean Gum” you are already conditioned to accept as it isn’t a bug…

How to convince people to eat insects

Carolyn BeansAuthors Info & Affiliations
November 4, 2022
119 (46) e2217537119
Hargol, established in 2016, is the first company to raise a species of locust at commercial scale. Its products are primarily sold to other food producers. But it also sells finished products to consumers online through its sub-brand, Biblical Protein. Hargol’s chocolate protein shake mix pictures a chocolatey liquid pouring into a glass—no wings, legs, or antennae in sight. The company isn’t hiding the insects. (The bottom of the label clearly states: “Locust is a natural high protein source.”) But it also isn’t leading with them.

Further down:

Marketing as Usual
But before consumers feel compelled to grab a pack of dried crickets, companies will have to lure them in with advertisements. Researchers are still trying to understand the most effective approach. “Telling people that they should eat more insects because it’s good for them and/or good for the planet doesn’t seem to have much effect on behavior,” says experimental psychologist and gastrophysicist Charles Spence of the University of Oxford, UK.

Well duh… Oh, and watch out for those sauces… Will restaurants list all the bugs in their purchased sauces?

Yoon teaches people how to work insects into their kitchens, so they won’t be left disappointed. He explains, for example, that adding cricket powder to marinara sauce adds not only nutrition but umami. Mixing cricket powder and mushrooms with breadcrumbs and other ingredients creates meatballs with the right mouth-feel and texture.

May have to just choose your restaurants and flat out avoid any with bug-food in ANY product they sell. Otherwise you will be playing 20 Questions for hours going through the menu…

Oh, and anything with a Green “Helps Save The World” messaging is likely to be a problem, so just avoid all of them, too…

Hargol is working with processed meat producers in the United States, Canada, and Asia to develop products like burgers, meatballs, and sausage that will contain chicken, beef, or other protein sources combined with ground grasshopper. One company, Tamir says, is expected to launch the first such product in 2023.

Pointing to a picture of a chicken and grasshopper patty prototype, Tamir outlines Hargol’s selling points: It tastes better than other burgers because of this unique ingredient (which he leaves unnamed.) “And then we can explain, it is better for the environment, it is better for your health.”

Then there’s that whole problem of “lab escape”. What happens when these “specially bred” grasshoppers that eat “dry feed” escape into the wild, eh?

Tamir believes that his own company’s production costs will come down now that Hargol has bred grasshoppers that can survive on dry feed rather than fresh grass. “It reduces feed cost—the main cost driver—by 97 percent,” he says. “Once we implement that on the production lines, we will be more efficient than any other animal-based protein source out there.”

So what are the odds they will never ever have any of those escape? Then this Super Bug Grasshopper can survive and thrive on dry feed and survive better / longer in dry climates. Gives “Plague Of Locusts” a whole new wrinkle…


About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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12 Responses to PNAS On The Eat Your Bugs Bandwagon

  1. John Hultquist says:

    Chickens eat bugs.

  2. The Abyss Laughs says:

    The bugs will break down your immune system so that the experimental gene therapies can do the rest.

  3. E.M.Smith says:

    @The Abyss:

    There’s a real and significant risk of folks developing bug allergies and reacting badly.

    There’s also some question of Kaiten chitin causing issues…

    Chitin and Its Effects on Inflammatory and Immune Responses

    Daniel Elieh Ali Komi 1 2, Lokesh Sharma 3, Charles S Dela Cruz 4 5
    Affiliations expand
    PMID: 28251581 PMCID: PMC5680136 DOI: 10.1007/s12016-017-8600-0
    Free PMC article

    Chitin, a potential allergy-promoting pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP), is a linear polymer composed of N-acetylglucosamine residues which are linked by β-(1,4)-glycosidic bonds. Mammalians are potential hosts for chitin-containing protozoa, fungi, arthropods, and nematodes; however, mammalians themselves do not synthetize chitin and thus it is considered as a potential target for recognition by mammalian immune system. Chitin is sensed primarily in the lungs or gut where it activates a variety of innate (eosinophils, macrophages) and adaptive immune cells (IL-4/IL-13 expressing T helper type-2 lymphocytes). Chitin induces cytokine production, leukocyte recruitment, and alternative macrophage activation. Intranasal or intraperitoneal administration of chitin (varying in size, degree of acetylation and purity) to mice has been applied as a routine approach to investigate chitin’s priming effects on innate and adaptive immunity. Structural chitin present in microorganisms is actively degraded by host true chitinases, including acidic mammalian chitinases and chitotriosidase into smaller fragments that can be sensed by mammalian receptors such as FIBCD1, NKR-P1, and RegIIIc. Immune recognition of chitin also involves pattern recognition receptors, mainly via TLR-2 and Dectin-1, to activate immune cells to induce cytokine production and creation of an immune network that results in inflammatory and allergic responses. In this review, we will focus on various immunological aspects of the interaction between chitin and host immune system such as sensing, interactions with immune cells, chitinases as chitin degrading enzymes, and immunologic applications of chitin.

    So as someone who already has some allergy problems, I’m NOT going to be eating the bugs… with their chitin shells…

    @John H.:

    I agree. I’ll have the scrambled eggs and fried chicken. The chickens can have the bugs…

  4. rhoda klapp says:

    Kaiten? Japanese suicide torpedoes? Didn’t see that coming as a threat.

  5. E.M.Smith says:


    Thought I’d fixed that…

    Sometimes I’ll just stick in a phonetic spelling on a word when typing something, then go look it up for spelling and “fix” it, then push the “Do It” button. I knew I’d spelled it wrong and had gone and looked it up. But it looks like I hit the go button without changing the spelling. Oh Well…

    FWIW my spelling is beyond horrible. I’m very happy to use phonetic, archaic and foreign language spellings… (something about having had years of Spanish, French through to French Lit in French, intro to German, and a bit of Russian). After a while, anything ‘close’ is good enough. Oh, and Japanese for ordering food, Karate for a few years, and one 2 week trip to Japan… Oh again, and a quick immersion in Italian for a trip there, too (via a tape course before leaving and on the flight over). Plus a half dozen others I’ve dabbled with (including Latin though the case endings have been a barrier, and Greek enough to read a few words & phrases). Then there was the Brazilian Portuguese quick study for when I was teaching ESL to a Brazilian high school class…

    After a while you say “How to spell FOO?” at yourself and get back a chain of a dozen ‘possibles’ and just decide to put it in phonetically and come back later with the right thing… so as not to break the flow of the creative process of writing something. (Oh, and I learned the official phonetic alphabet in Linguistics class at University… which has the purpose of spelling things with exact sound of all languages so spelling changes with different speakers who make somewhat different sounds for the same word… but it is too complicated for daily use; so I use a modified English phonetic system for ‘my stuff’.)


    Makes for a unique view of the printed word.

    Folks may have noticed my tendency to use “creative capitalization”. Partly a result of the German “capitalize all nouns” thing feeling useful. Partly a result of too much time writing computer languages where you need to have something “different” to flag it for some reason (as ‘your word’ or to have two different words but noted as being related – so you might have sumDaily and SumDaily where one is over a week and the other is the whole time series – and yes, that’s not best practices but it works…) Which reminds me, I’ve lost track of the number of computer languages I’ve learned and used over the years; often with strange spellings and different grammars. At least a dozen, probably closer to a few dozen. Maybe some day I’ll write down all I can remember…

    Then when writing computer programs, you get used to the idea that you can create your own language for that particular program. Nouns (variables) are all up to you to create. Verbs (function calls or subroutines) too. All of the spelling (other than Reserved Words) is flexible. That attitude spills over too. “I am empowered to make my language as I like it” becomes habit.

    So don’t be surprised when sometimes some odd bit leaks through. Internally I use a somewhat different encoding than Standard English and I’m happy with any spelling that sounds right or is a symbolic match (or is even just close enough to figure it out in a Mark Twain kind of way ;-)

    An example there is that I like to use “donc” internally for “therefore”. It is from the French and just “feels right”. Plus it is shorter and faster. “Donc eta fact”. “Therefore it is shown to be a fact”. I think you can see how that can be challenging…

    Oh, I forgot, also SEE Sign and ASL sign languages…

    Yes, I’m a bit of a Language Hound. But that means there’s a lot of jumble in the spelling linked list…

    An example? Apartment, Appartement, Apartement, Apt. all work for me. One of them is English and one of them is French (I think…) and others. Kofe or Koфe (with the Greek f) works for Coffee just fine as that’s the Russian… And yes, after a while it becomes more of a swamp of confusion for some words, and less a feature.

    Oh Well… good for a laugh some times I suppose…

  6. saighdear says:

    Well, can we really have a happy New Year? – but in spirit at least, so to you and yours, E.M. , Slàinte Mhath!
    Yes so now as you rightfully say that Inspectors were to check to KEEP OUT bugs in the food, now as they’ll be included, we will have to consider, what else are the Bugs bringing in with them. Poor wee Buggers, the thought of mass killing of them just to suit a green agenda. Now imagine in the scheme of things that WE were that Bugs and each cloud of rain or shadow initiated the food processing to us in order that we may feed some higher being, what would we feel like? don’t those critters have any feelings either? I’m told that potatoes and carrots squeal when peeled, I wouldn’t like to be trodden on or heated in a lidded pot … Just don’t understand the world any more. Oat milk or beetle juice, anyone?

  7. H.R. says:

    saighdear: “Poor wee Buggers, the thought of mass killing of them just to suit a green agenda. Now imagine in the scheme of things that WE were that Bugs […]”

    Just 3 words, saighdeer: Soylent Green.

  8. rhoda klapp says:

    I’m in Naples now. Yesterday at he supermarket I was amused, or is it bemused, to find a brand of health drink call soylent. One of the varieties was green. It SAYS it’s Mint Chocolate.

  9. E.M.Smith says:


    They are just locking down the trademark for the future. You know, after we’ve become accustomed to “powdered bugs in the food” then it will just be “some powdered soylent green in your meat” … /snark;

    (Sidebar: So we already need to mark humor with ;-) or /snark; or even /sarc; for sarcasm… but what will we do when it is no longer humor? Or being Snarky? When it is in fact a fact? Frowny face? 8-( or /damn; or what?)

  10. Ossqss says:

    @EM, I know that answer!

  11. The True Nolan says:

    Soylent Stinkbug!

    It sounded better in my mind before I typed it out…

  12. E.M.Smith says:

    Yes, it did….


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