Vegetables, starches… And insects. In France, the main source of protein remains meat: beef, chicken, pork… In 2021, we consumed around 85 kilos per person, up 0.7% compared to the previous year, according to figures from the The Minister of Agriculture. Bad news as many climate associations call for reducing our consumption to slow down global warming. In 2021, 2.2% of French people had adopted a vegetarian diet, but 24% said they had reduced their meat consumption, according to an Ifop* survey for France Agrimer.
How to reduce your consumption without losing your protein intake? Recently, Planet presented several foods to replace meat, but we hadn’t thought of insects. Geneviève made this choice ten years ago and hardly ever eats meat every day. Asked by Planet, she explains that entomophagy – which she practices – is “a way of life linked to the consumption of insects”.
If this practice can be philosophical, dietary or cultural, for this mother it is above all political: “My decision was linked to global warming, to the change in lifestyle and consumption”. About ten years ago, Geneviève realized that she was eating too much meat and decided to change things on her own. She then thinks of veganism, vegetarianism, but discovers this alternative, which allows to keep animal proteins. “Cultivating insects uses less water, less space and less energy,” she adds to Planet.
Today, Geneviève is omnivorous and not entomophagous, that is to say that she regularly eats insects – at least once a week – and almost no more meat, but insects are not the main element of her diet. feed. “I eat them dehydrated, as an accompaniment with what we usually eat, starchy foods, vegetables and fruits”, she explains, sharing with us two recipes: “I accommodate salads with dehydrated insects, in naans for example, I replace the meat with insects”. What kinds of insects does she eat? She explains everything to us.
*Survey carried out from September 30 to November 8, 2020 by the IFOP, which interviewed a sample of 15,001 people aged 15 to 70 and representative of the French population.
Geneviève discovered the consumption of insects during various trips to Africa, Asia or South America, where it is normal to cook and eat them. In France, she only finds dehydrated insects, and few species: “We order via an insect breeder, but there are not too many choices in France. We find crickets, mealworms, bamboo worms, ants and grasshoppers. Ants and grasshoppers are really very expensive, it’s really not affordable”.
The mother of the family regrets that the purchase has become so expensive because, “10 years ago it was very accessible”. Since then, there has been “a kind of fashion and restaurants have started to want to integrate them into their menu, so the price per kilo has exploded. I had to fall back on crickets and mealworms, the latter are cheaper because they are easy to raise, they don’t require a lot of energy and not a lot of space”. For Geneviève, it is not normal that insects are sold at this price, because their consumption “should be democratized, in order to become a real alternative to meat”. Are you hesitating? She already knows how to convince you to take the plunge.
Geneviève’s companion and daughter eat the same thing as her. As for those close to him… Make or break: “I had the insects around me tasted, you have to go through the process of telling yourself that they are insects, but then you quickly get the hang of it”. To convince new people, she explains that “we eat everything, we eat plants, animals, seafood. Why not eat insects? These are interesting nutritious foods and, when we Saying that, it makes you think. 50% of people are convinced, that’s not bad! Afterwards, some have a phobia that comes from afar and that’s how it is”.
To those who are disgusted by the idea of eating insects, she reminds us that the French eat frogs and snails. “We are in a comfort in the West which allows us to reject certain diets”, she concludes with Planet. Not sure that this luxury will last for decades…