In the West, more and more people are beginning to include bugs in their diets, according to a blog by Kendrick Foster at Harvard. A mixture of sustainability advocates and chefs are proponents of the dietary addition, but understand that not everyone will like bugs. They are attempting to “rebrand [the ick factor] to the wow factor” in order to convince a wider audience to add bugs to their meals.
Additionally, proponents are focusing on the fact that insects taste similar to foods we already eat- crickets apparently taste like cashews or pine nuts. Additionally, disguising bugs in bars or chips can remove the “ick factor.”
Experts advise targeting children who “aren’t biased yet, so they have no problems in eating insects.” Working with celebrities to promote a bug-infused diet could be another successful tactic.
Foster also argues that “bugs look poised to be the next sushi.” Americans initially saw sushi as disgusting and foreign, but an influential report which encouraged increased consumption of fish and a new interest in Japanese culture alongside the advent of the inside-out roll which hid the unseemly aspects of sushi behind a wall of rice and seaweed, worked together to popularize the dish. The rise of lobsters is a similar story.
What was once viewed as a “poor man’s food” became a luxury food after the advent of the railroad, where railroad workers sold lobsters as an exotic good to unsuspecting Midwesterners. Bugs could be the next sushi or lobsters in an American diet.