Who eats insects?


As it turns out, at least two billion people actively consume insects as part of their diets. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, caterpillars are abundantly available all year round in markets. A quick google search tells us that caterpillars have a nutty (to be more specific enoki-pine nutty) or fruity taste and clearly Congolese are fond of them. One household, in the Congolese capital of Kinshasa, eats about 300 g of caterpillars a week on average. This equates to an astonishing 96 tonnes of caterpillars consumed in the city annually. While in African countries, insects are mostly eaten by the natives, in Southeast Asia, a plethora of insects, prepared and concocted in different ways, is increasingly marketed to tourists. It's no surprise really, considering the surge of tourists to this part of the world. And the fact that between 150-200 species of insects are consumed in Southeast Asia. The most delicious insects? Globally, beetles and caterpillars are consumed as much as all other edible insects taken together. But bees (as my brother can attest to), wasps and ants are popular too, accounting for a whopping 14% global insect consumption. Cicadas, locusts, crickets, dragonflies, flies are not spared either. While two billion people are perfectly fine with eating insects, the remaining five billion are mostly on the opposite end of the "like spectrum." It seems weird that such a common practice is frowned upon so much by others, isn't it? The disconnect, perhaps unsurprisingly, stems from the westernisation of diets and cultures.

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