While we in North America remain squeamish, other parts of the world have long boasted tasty traditions of insect-based cuisine. Over here, food innovators have been laying the groundwork for the adoption of crickets, mealworms, and grasshoppers as an alternative protein for a while now, but progress is slow.
At least in the human food department: Purina, a sub-brand of (the still problematic) Nestlé is piloting a dog and cat food line that features chicken, fava beans, and black soldier fly larvae. (A second flavour — chicken, pig liver, and millet, is bug free.)
This is in response to a general consumer pivot to more environmentally friendly protein options. Meat production is a stunningly resource-heavy undertaking, and the methane that is a byproduct of cow digestion is a big contributor to climate change. Farming insects for food could popularize a low-impact protein source for both humans and their furry friends.
“Purina also plans to offer U.S. consumers an insect-based dry dog formula in January online, Lorie Westhoff, a Purina spokeswoman said. It will be rolled out along with several other formulas using protein alternatives, like the invasive Asian carp, she said. […]
Nestlé doesn’t have an estimate on the potential environmental impact of switching pets to a bug-based diet yet, the company told NPR. But they said they ‘generally see the need to diversify sources of protein in food for a variety of reasons, including environmental goals such as fighting climate change and protecting biodiversity.’”
As a dog owner and a foodie, I look forward to further developments in bug-based pet foods with interest. However, as a human, I’ll take anything Nestlé says it’s doing to be a moral entity with a giant grain of salt. Maybe I can learn from this industry change, and incorporate insects into the homemade food we cook up for our liege, Samson? Though he may be too picky; instead, I may have more luck flipping the script — and perhaps a burger with some of our sauce — and starting with us!