The newspaper has again promoted consuming edible insects, triggering an online backlash © Getty Images / Chip Somodevilla
One of the most prominent US newspapers has again called for Americans to rely on bugs as a major food source, arguing that the shift to edible insects from beef, pork, and chicken will be good for the environment.
Eating insects instead of livestock-based meats will “lighten environmental footprints,” the Washington Post said in an article published on Sunday. Farm-raised insects also yield protein more efficiently, the newspaper claimed. For instance, crickets are 12 times more efficient than cows in converting feed to edible weight.
Sunday’s article marks the latest in a long line of efforts by the Post and other media outlets to sell Americans and consumers elsewhere in the West on eating insects. A quick Google search reveals that the Washington Post has been repeatedly hammering the topic since at least 2013, posting articles with such titles as ‘Why bugs must be a bigger part of the human food chain’ and ‘Why you can, should and probably will eat bugs’. A 2019 piece had a question as the title: ‘Would you eat insects to help save the planet?’
The edible insect industry is ramping up — one report predicts the market will reach $9.6 billion by 2030. https://t.co/reEbr2vfVu
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) November 28, 2022
The outlet claimed that 2 billion people, or about one-fourth of the global population, are already eating bugs. It cited a report predicting that the edible insect industry will grow to $9.6 billion in annual revenue by 2030. “Consumers can already find foods like salted ants on Amazon and cricket powder protein bars in Swiss grocery stores. Recent years have seen numerous media stories extolling the virtues of insect-eating.”
The Post is one of the leading media promoters of bugs as human food. The newspaper is owned by the founder of Amazon, billionaire Jeff Bezos, who is reportedly an insect-eating enthusiast. Bezos also has ties to the World Economic Forum, which has repeatedly touted eating bugs as a way to ease climate change.
The goal is to make bug-eating the “new norm,” which will require programming Americans to get past their squeamishness about cockroaches and other six-legged sources of food. “Watching others may also help break down the barriers,” the Post said, adding that “resistance to insect-eating can be strong.” One possible solution might be to use celebrities to endorse edible bugs, the newspaper said.
Online critics balked at the idea. WaPo’s Twitter post about Sunday’s article was ratioed. Many observers suggested that Post staffers lead the way by eating bugs themselves. “Make it stop,” said Christina Pushaw, press secretary for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
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