Children are to be fed bugs as part of a plan to get a new generation to switch from meat to insects – and potentially persuade their parents to follow their lead.
Pupils at four primary schools in Wales are to be offered insects to eat as part of a project to gauge children’s appetite for “alternative protein” such as crickets, grasshoppers, and mealworms.
Researchers hope their findings will give clues as to how best educate children on the environmental and nutritional benefits of edible insects across the UK, and potentially overseas – and, in turn, their parents, as the world looks to help the environment by cutting meat consumption.
The project, which starts this week, will use surveys, workshops, interviews and focus groups to explore young people’s understandings and experiences of alternative proteins.
The researchers have teamed up with teachers and hope many of the five to 11 year old’s in the study will be willing to taste some edible insects to see how they find them.
“We want the children to think about alternative proteins as real things for now, rather than just as foods for the future, so trying some of these foods is central to the research,” said Christopher Bear, of Cardiff University.
“Although edible insects are – for now – not sold widely in the UK, they form part of the diet of around 2 billion people worldwide. Much of this is in parts of the world where they are part of long-standing culinary traditions. And they are increasingly popular elsewhere,” he said.
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