As ever the key driver will be economics; the same economics that lie behind the horsemeat scandal. Meat is becoming increasingly expensive, beef especially so. This isn’t some blip. The future is only for more of the same, as a rising global population puts a premium on cereals and grains, too much of which are fed to livestock.
At the same time grazing land will become scarcer and tensions over water will intensify. By the middle of the century as much as half the planet could be “water insecure”; letting cows and sheep drink what’s left will seem obscene. Many experts believe that, to deal with the environmental impact of livestock, we will have to cut our fresh meat consumption by half.
And yet a hunger for animal protein will remain, which is where the insects come in. The current European Union-funded academic projects to liberate protein from insects – an environmentally friendly source on all measures — will eventually result in a proprietary product that can be used as a substitute for conventional forms of meat in ‘processed’ items such as sausages, burgers and lasagnes.