3D-printed insect snacks: the taste of the future?

Signal of change / 3D-printed insect snacks: the taste of the future?

By Jacob Park / 10 Feb 2014

A team of food scientists at London South Bank University are exploring the use of 3D printers to improve the palatability of insect flour.


Although entomophagy (eating insects) is already common in many cultures, in others there is some public resistance to overcome. One solution is to replace traditional flour in a variety of foodstuffs such as cereal bars, baked snacks, and bread, with 'insect flour' made from ground insects, such as crickets or mealworms.


In 2013, the UN Food and Agricultural Organization released a highly publicized report calling for the greater use of insect protein in human food and animal feed. While global demand for protein is growing rapidly, the environmental damage associated with large-scale livestock operations has become increasingly unsustainable. 


Image credit: Johan J. Ingles-Le Nobel / Flickr 




So what?

As the global population increases, and with it, demand for high-protein foodstuffs such as meat, the need to find a low-impact source of protein has become urgent. Eating insects offers a practical alternative to meat but cultural attitudes need to shift to encourage its adoption. The use of 3D printing technology may offer one way to shift those attitudes. 


Food Navigator (2014, February 11) Are 3D printed insect snacks the taste of the future

Fao (2013) Edible insects - Future prospects for food and feed security

What might the implications of this be? What related signals of change have you seen?

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