As the human population continues to inch closer to 8 billion people, feeding all those hungry mouths will become increasingly difficult. A growing number of experts claim that people will soon have no choice but to consume insects.
As if to underscore that claim, a group of students from McGill University in Montreal has won the 2013 Hult Prize, for producing a protein-rich flour made from insects. The prize gives the students $1 million in seed money to begin creating what they call Power Flour. "We will be starting with grasshoppers," team captain Mohammed Ashour told ABC News on Monday (Sept. 30).
Earlier this year, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) released a report titled, "Edible Insects: Future Prospects for Food and Feed Security." The document details the health and environmental benefits derived from a diet supplemented by insects, a diet also known as "entomophagy." Gleaned from the FAO document and other sources, here's a list of seven edible insects you may soon find on your dinner plate. (Eat This! 7 Perfect Survival Foods)
Mopane caterpillars - the larval stage of the emperor moth (Imbrasia belina) - are common throughout the southern part of Africa. Harvesting of mopane caterpillars is a multi-million dollar industry in the region, where women and children generally do the work of gathering the plump, little insects.
The caterpillars are traditionally boiled in salted water, then sun-dried; the dried form can last for several months without refrigeration, making them an important source of nutrition in lean times. And few bugs are more nutritious: Whereas the iron content of beef is 6 mg per 100 grams of dry weight, mopane caterpillars pack a whopping 31 mg of iron per 100 grams. They're also a good source of potassium, sodium, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc, manganese and copper, according to the FAO.