TOKYO -- With the global population forecast to swell to 10 billion by the year 2050, chronic food shortages are a very real threat. In the race to find better ways to feed more mouths, some startups are exploring an alternative food source that has been hiding in plain sight: insects.
In Helsinki, the chirping of some 500,000 crickets fills the offices of venture company EntoCube. The company, founded in December 2014, sees great promise in the critter's dense nutrient profile.
A hundred grams of crickets yields about 20 grams of protein, nearly matching the numbers for beef and powered milk. But the economic and environmental costs of raising crickets are far smaller. Increasing the weight of a cow by 100 grams requires roughly 1kg of feed and 1,534 liters of water; producing a similar gain with crickets requires just 100 grams of feed and 1 liter of water.
Crickets can save the world from the looming food crisis, said EntoCube CEO Robert Nemlander. The company has developed containers for farming food-grade insects and plans to sell its products to nonprofit organisations in Africa and other entities.
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