Why Eating Crickets Instead of Beef Can Help Fight Global Warming

Insect meal, such as the flesh of crickets, is eaten in parts of Asia, while microalgae such as spirulina are becoming increasingly popular as superfoods. Quorn uses mycoprotein as a main ingredient in its meat alternatives.

Dr Tzachor said new foods have long been touted as a panacea to make diets healthier, safer and more sustainable, as society has “a penchant for foods of animal origin”, which leads to “disastrous environmental consequences”.

The study found that a diet full of novel foods – primarily insects, cultured meat and milk, and single-cell proteins derived from algae – reduced land use by 87%, the use of water by 84% and global warming by 83% compared to current European diets.

However, that’s little better than what researchers define as an “optimized omnivorous diet,” which allows people to eat eggs, dairy, fish, and seafood but no meat. In this scenario, land needs decrease by 80%, water by 83% and global warming potential by 82%.

“Novel and future foods may provide options to diversify diets, but require other intermediate means of promotion and consumption such as education on similarity to familiar foods, market accessibility through price lower for consumers and sourcing incentive for institutional and corporate food companies,” said the Finnish team wrote in their paper, published in the journal Nature Food.

“Given the complexities and the recognition that there is no panacea, action is needed on all fronts to move towards such diets and future sustainable food systems.”

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