Although eating crickets and grasshoppers may seem disgusting to most people in Europe and the US, it is a common snack in some regions of Asia and Africa. They are not only nutrient-dense but also less harmful to the environment.

Grasshoppers are a healthy, high-protein snack. According to Leonard Alfonce, an entomology researcher at the Sokoine University of Tanzania, they play a significant role in enhancing nutrition, food security, and employment in East Africa. Leonard Alfonce thinks insects should be raised as a year-round sustainable food source. “The edible grasshoppers are highly valued and their trade is a source of income in Uganda,” Alfonce says. “Optimising mass rearing protocols for edible grasshoppers would ensure their year-round supply to enhance nutrition, food security, and livelihoods in East Africa.” The long-horned grasshoppers, known as Nsenene in Uganda, have a nutritional content of 34–45% protein, 54–54% fat, and 4–6% fiber. In general, insects are rich in vitamins and amino acids. Then there are the advantages of sustainability. Insect farming has a significantly lower carbon footprint than traditional farming because it uses a lot less water, energy, and land. Mealworms and crickets could replace half of the meat consumed worldwide, cutting farmland use by a third and freeing up 1,680 million hectares.

As per Bill Broadbent, the president of Entosense, a US company on a mission to make edible insects part of Americans’ daily diet, insects might not completely replace meat, but they do represent a significant alternative protein source in a world likely to struggle with food scarcity over the coming years as the global population continues to grow.