If you've ever trundled off to PetSmart to get your gecko some crickets—retail price C$.12 each—you know what a yummy treat they can be. So little wonder our captains of industry and science are trying to capitalize on the world's virtually unlimited supply of insects—as a nutritious and environmentally-friendly human food source.
So far, alas, they have made only limited progress. It turns out that eating insects is "no panacea" for climate change or meat substitution, as the Globe and Mail reported dejectedly last week. Indeed, when you commit to bug farming on an industrial scale, you find that edible insects are as unsustainable as "conventional protein sources." Here's another challenge. Say you do all the legwork to corner the Canadian termite or weevil-larvae market. How do you know you're not "merely setting up international food conglomerates to swoop in, monetize and dominate" your local startup? Finally, there's the cultural hurdle—the challenge of training unadventurous Western consumers in the ways of entomophagy (bug-eating) when they find the idea fundamentally icky.
Here's a suggestion for all you Canadian entrepreneurs who want to strike back at the entomophagy conglomerates (PespsiCo, for example, which is reportedly looking for new protein sources for its Doritos™ and Cheetos™). Figure out how to engineer insects that taste good, grind them into powder, sprinkle them onto popcorn, cheese puffs and other munchies, and sell them alongside legal weed to Canadians who will be too stoned to bother reading the ingredients list.