Forget the guilt trip: there’s a better way to get people to eat more bugs

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Enlarge / We double dog dare you to eat those bugs. (credit: John Tlumacki, Boston Globe/Getty Images)

A few years ago, French chef David Faure traveled to Asia. The many different bugs routinely offered for consumption in that part of the world inspired him to create an insect-based tasting menu at Aphrodite, his Michelin-starred restaurant in Nice. Adventurous diners could sample "crickets in a whiskey bubble with cubes of French toast and pears," or "squares of peas, carrot foam, and mealworms."

According to a new study by Swiss scientists, Faure's marketing strategy to make bugs more palatable to Western diners was a good one: present insects as an exotic delicacy or a luxurious indulgence, rather than a healthy protein source that is more environmentally responsible than consuming meat. They just published their fundings in Frontiers in Nutrition.

This is part of broader push toward accepting insects as an alternative protein source in Western diets, since food production accounts for as much as 25% of greenhouse gas emissions, much of that due to livestock. Farming insects could reduce that significantly. But how to overcome the strong revulsion most Westerners feel upon encountering insects in their food?

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