In September, a team of McGill University MBA students won the $1 million Hult Prize at the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting. They were awarded this prestigious prize based on their innovative proposal to combat world hunger: flour made from insects.
The team, comprised of Mohammed Ashour, Shobhita Soor, Jesse Pearlstein, Zev Thompson, and Gabe Mott, will use the award money to grow Aspire Food Group, an organization that will produce insect-based food products like the flour concept they thought, reports CBC.
“We are farming insects and we’re grinding them into a fine powder and then we’re mixing it with locally appropriate flour to create what we call power flour,” Ashour said to CBC News.
The team’s protein and iron-rich flour and other future insect-based products from Aspire Food Group are intended to feed malnourished people in the world’s poorest cities.
While insect-eating has not caught on in the U.S., it is widely accepted in other nations like Thailand, Mexico, Ghana, China and Brazil. Even the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has supported the idea of increasing the consumption of insects for food and feed security.
Insects do indeed supply quite a protein and iron punch at 12.9 grams of protein and 75.8 milligrams of iron for crickets alone. But do we really need to resort to insect farming as a way to feed the world’s hungry?
Even though insects would require less land and feed than livestock, if it ever managed to get to an industrial scale, we could easily face many similar problems as we are now with factory farms in terms of environmental effects. Plus, we’d again be producing perfectly healthy crops that would go directly to growing the insects when it would be more logically to give these crops to the hungry.
What’s more, there are already a number of inexpensive plant-based protein sources readily available such as barely, brown rice, whole wheat, corn, tomatoes, spinach, blue-green algae, bananas, lentils, seeds and nuts. And we’re throwing away an obscene amount of perfectly good food, so why can we not work to minimize this waste and direct it to those that could truly benefit from it?
Innovative ideas should be celebrated of course, but perhaps in our search for creative solutions, we are ignoring the ones right in front of our eyes.
What do you think about insect-based flour and food products? Tell us with a comment below!
Image source: Wikipedia Commons