So if we were to be completely honest, the idea of squishing ants and eating them is a little strange to us, but the United Nations is hoping that the social norms might change.
In a new report from the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization, researchers found that in forest areas, wild animals and insects were oftentimes the main protein source for humans; leaves, seeds, mushrooms, honey, and fruits provided minerals and vitamins.
The report estimated that at least 2 billion people consumed insects as part of their traditional diets.
"We are not saying that people should be eating bugs," Eva Muller, director of FAO’s Forest Economic Policy and Products Division, said in a press release. "We are saying that insects are just one resource provided by forests, and insects are pretty much untapped for their potential for food, and especially for feed."
In fact, the UN suggests that insect gathering and farming can create employment and generate income, and the private sector is reportedly "ready to invest in insect farming. We have huge opportunities before us," author Paul Vantomme said. The only thing stopping it would be legal issues, where some regulations may bar using insects in food for humans.
"Until there is clarity in the legal sphere, no major business is going to take the risk to invest funds when the laws remains unclear or actually hinders development of this new sector," Vantomme said.