Americans Still Think They're Too Goddamn Fancy To Eat Bugs

Illustration for article titled Americans Still Think They're Too Goddamn Fancy To Eat Bugs

Out there in the world, people are still trying to make bug-eating happen. But, so far, Americans — a populace who greedily devour Doritos Locos Tacos and myriad other confectionery nightmares — are not having it.


In this sad, withered world of ours in which our eating habits wreak havoc upon the planet whilst we all loll around in a pile of frozen White Castle cheeseburgers, we are running out of sustainable food options. Last year, when the U.N. suggested that we should all give insect-eating a try; the public reaction — mine included — was Strongly Against. Like, have you seen Snowpiercer? That entire movie (spoiler alert!) is basically about Chris Evans, a self-professed baby-eater, being so mad about consuming bugs that he goes on a murdering spree through a dystopian hell-train.

But that's just the result of cultural bias, insist bug consumption advocates, and it's something that can be changed through clever branding and packaging. For instance, rebranding locusts as "sky prawns" and not "heralds of the apocalypse." Also, crushing the bugs up real good so you don't see them.

According to NPR, several "bug infused startups" have sprouted up in Utah, Massachusetts and California. Their proprietors note that crickets contain as much calcium as milk, as much protein as other meats and that they're much more sustainable than all other livestock. Even hearing all of those good arguments, though, people tend to remain hesitant because, I mean, bugs, man.

"There is obviously a hurdle to get over, in terms of the 'yuck factor,' " Jack Ceadel, founder of the Austin, Texas-based Hopper Foods, told NPR. He later added, "The key to this is that people don't want to see the actual bug itself. It's the legs and the antennae that scare people."

It seems that the best solution is camouflaging the insects as best as possible. For instance: many of the startups crush crickets into cricket-flour, which is high-protein and, significantly, has no squiggly bits coming off of it. According to Robert Nathan Allen of the Austin-based nonprofit Little Herds, the vast majority of people are willing to fuck with that: "Ninety-nine percent of the people that we talk to are at least willing to take a bite [of a cricket-flour cookie]," he said to NPR. "And once they take that bite and they're knowingly eating an insect, it starts to break down a lot of those internal barriers. And it makes them question, 'What is food to me? What do I consider food?'"


Alternate suggestion: if none of this works, someone should look into combining a pile of dead bugs with a croissant.

Image via Getty.