Crickets – Sustainable and nutrition-dense protein
Sustainable nutrition is the biggest concern for the planet today considering the negative impact the food production industry is incurring on climate, biodiversity, carbon emissions, social and economic states. Perfect Protein gives insight into the importance of sustainable nutrition and how edible insect protein can become the future of food.
What is sustainable nutrition?
“The FAO defines sustainable diets as diets with low environmental impacts which contribute to food and nutrition security and healthy life for present and future generations. Sustainable diets are protective and respectful of biodiversity and ecosystems, culturally acceptable, accessible, economically fair and affordable; nutritionally adequate, safe and healthy; while optimizing natural and human resources (FAO 2012).”
More importantly, the need of the hour is not just sustainable food but also food that is nutrition dense. In order to optimize nutrition and health outcomes, the fundamental narrative and mindset shift needs to shift from tonnes of food per hectare to numbers of people fed and nourished per hectare.
Foods that are energy-dense contain a higher number of calories per serving, whereas nutrient-dense foods contain a higher level of vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients with little or no added sugars or fats that raise calories.
Here are the features of sustainable nutrition:
- Product with low environmental impact, with very low consumption of soil and water;
- Product with low carbon and nitrogen emissions;
- Respectful of ecosystems and biodiversity;
- Attentive to local needs and the enhancement of the territory;
- Healthy and nutritious;
- Economically accessible to all.
The environmental impact of food production and dietary habits is enormous. Here are some of the reasons why sustainable nutrition is gaining importance:
- Global greenhouse emissions: It is estimated that a third of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are generated by the food system from primary production through processing, retail, and preparation to waste disposal.
- Planetary boundary: Planetary boundaries are a concept which attempts to identify global-scale sustainability indicators and their tipping points. Currently, global food production is exceeding environmental limits with nitrogen synthesis exceeding the planetary boundary by a factor of four and phosphorus use reaching the planetary boundary.
- Biodiversity loss: The expansion of agricultural land and methods to increase food production have contributed majorly to the loss of ecosystems and biodiversity. This expansion is being driven by population growth and changing dietary habits, especially with the high demand for animal-based products.
- Wastage: It is estimated that a third of food produced globally is lost, destroyed, or wasted. Transformation of the food system is needed from both the supply and demand sides to reduce waste, environmental damage, and the use of limited natural resources and to enhance the nutritive quality of dietary intake.
Why is edible insect protein a sustainable choice?
Insect consumption has been a source of a high protein diet in various cultures and regions. In today’s need for sustainable and nutrient-rich food, edible insect protein consumption is set to gain more importance and relevance. Here’s how a cricket diet contributes to sustainable nutrition and offers a nutrition-dense form of food:
- Lower carbon footprint: Insect cultivation uses a fraction of the land, energy, and water required for traditional farming, and has a significantly lower carbon footprint.
- Lower greenhouse gas emission: Crickets produce up to 80% less methane than cows and 8-12 times less ammonia than pigs. Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, has a global warming impact 84 times higher than CO2 over 20 years. Ammonia is a pungent gas and air pollutant that leads to soil acidification, groundwater pollution, and the ecosystem.
- Sustainable cultivation: Insects are 12 to 25 times more efficient at converting their food into protein than animals. According to the FAO, crickets need six times less feed than cattle, four times less than sheep, and two times less than pigs. The main reason behind this efficiency is that insects are cold-blooded and dispense less energy maintaining their body heat.
- Less waste: Insect farming also produces less waste. In animal rearing, a big amount of meat is wasted but with insects every bit is consumed.
- Recyclable resources: Insects can also live off food and biomass and contribute to the circular economy, where resources are recycled and reused. They can feed on agricultural waste and their excrement can be used as fertilizer for crops.
Why Perfect Protein?
Perfect Protein, a wholly owned brand of Dalayla farms, creates consumable protein products using 100% sustainably raised crickets from its in-house farm.
- With Perfect Protein, clients have access to flavorful products that are a great source of complete protein with all 9 essential amino acids produced with minimal environmental impact.
- Crickets are very nutritionally dense sources of food. Here is their nutrition profile:
- 65% protein by volume
- High in iron
- High in fiber
- More B12 than salmon
- All 9 amino acids
- More calcium than milk
- 15% More iron than spinach
Visit the Perfect Protein farm to see how it works. Call at 1-716-597-8656 or visit our shop online at www.crkt.life