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  • Okay, I'm going to show you

  • again something about our diets.

  • And I would like to know what the audience is,

  • and so who of you ever ate insects?

  • That's quite a lot.

  • (Laughter)

  • But still, you're not representing

  • the overall population of the Earth.

  • (Laughter)

  • Because there's 80 percent out there that really eats insects.

  • But this is quite good.

  • Why not eat insects? Well first, what are insects?

  • Insects are animals that walk around on six legs.

  • And here you see just a selection.

  • There's six million species of insects on this planet,

  • six million species.

  • There's a few hundreds of mammals --

  • six million species of insects.

  • In fact, if we count all the individual organisms,

  • we would come at much larger numbers.

  • In fact, of all animals on Earth,

  • of all animal species,

  • 80 percent walks on six legs.

  • But if we would count all the individuals,

  • and we take an average weight of them,

  • it would amount to something like 200 to 2,000 kilograms

  • for each of you and me on Earth.

  • That means that in terms of biomass,

  • insects are more abundant than we are,

  • and we're not on a planet of men,

  • but we're on a planet of insects.

  • Insects are not only there in nature,

  • but they also are involved in our economy,

  • usually without us knowing.

  • There was an estimation,

  • a conservative estimation, a couple of years ago

  • that the U.S. economy

  • benefited by 57 billion

  • dollars per year.

  • It's a number -- very large --

  • a contribution to the economy of the United States for free.

  • And so I looked up what the economy was paying

  • for the war in Iraq

  • in the same year.

  • It was 80 billion U.S. dollars.

  • Well we know that that

  • was not a cheap war.

  • So insects, just for free,

  • contribute to the economy of the United States

  • with about the same order of magnitude,

  • just for free, without everyone knowing.

  • And not only in the States,

  • but in any country, in any economy.

  • What do they do?

  • They remove dung, they pollinate our crops.

  • A third of all the fruits that we eat

  • are all a result

  • of insects taking care of the reproduction of plants.

  • They control pests,

  • and they're food for animals.

  • They're at the start of food chains.

  • Small animals eat insects.

  • Even larger animals eat insects.

  • But the small animals that eat insects

  • are being eaten by larger animals,

  • still larger animals.

  • And at the end of the food chain, we are eating them as well.

  • There's quite a lot of people that are eating insects.

  • And here you see me

  • in a small, provincial town in China, Lijiang --

  • about two million inhabitants.

  • If you go out for dinner, like in a fish restaurant,

  • where you can select which fish you want to eat,

  • you can select which insects you would like to eat.

  • And they prepare it in a wonderful way.

  • And here you see me enjoying a meal

  • with caterpillars, locusts,

  • bee pupae -- delicacies.

  • And you can eat something new everyday.

  • There's more than 1,000 species of insects

  • that are being eaten all around the globe.

  • That's quite a bit more

  • than just a few mammals that we're eating,

  • like a cow or a pig

  • or a sheep.

  • More than 1,000 species --

  • an enormous variety.

  • And now you may think, okay,

  • in this provincial town in China they're doing that, but not us.

  • Well we've seen already that quite some of you

  • already ate insects maybe occasionally,

  • but I can tell you that every one of you

  • is eating insects, without any exception.

  • You're eating at least

  • 500 grams per year.

  • What are you eating?

  • Tomato soup, peanut butter,

  • chocolate, noodles --

  • any processed food that you're eating

  • contains insects,

  • because insects are here all around us,

  • and when they're out there in nature

  • they're also in our crops.

  • Some fruits get some insect damage.

  • Those are the fruits, if they're tomato,

  • that go to the tomato soup.

  • If they don't have any damage, they go to the grocery.

  • And that's your view of a tomato.

  • But there's tomatoes that end up in a soup,

  • and as long as they meet

  • the requirements of the food agency,

  • there can be all kinds of things in there,

  • no problem.

  • In fact, why would we put these balls in the soup,

  • there's meat in there anyway?

  • (Laughter)

  • In fact, all our processed foods

  • contain more proteins

  • than we would be aware of.

  • So anything is a good protein source already.

  • Now you may say,

  • "Okay, so we're eating 500 grams just by accident."

  • We're even doing this on purpose.

  • In a lot of food items that we have --

  • I have only two items

  • here on the slide --

  • pink cookies or surimi sticks

  • or, if you like, Campari --

  • a lot of our food products that are of a red color

  • are dyed with a natural dye.

  • The surimi sticks

  • [of] crabmeat, or is being sold as crab meat,

  • is white fish

  • that's being dyed with cochineal.

  • Cochineal is a product

  • of an insect that lives off these cacti.

  • It's being produced in large amounts,

  • 150 to 180 metric tons per year

  • in the Canary Islands in Peru,

  • and it's big business.

  • One gram of cochineal

  • costs about 30 euros.

  • One gram of gold

  • is 30 euros.

  • So it's a very precious thing

  • that we're using to dye our foods.

  • Now the situation in the world is going to change

  • for you and me, for everyone on this Earth.

  • The human population is growing very rapidly

  • and is growing exponentially.

  • Where, at the moment, we have

  • something between six and seven billion people,

  • it will grow to about nine billion

  • in 2050.

  • That means that we have a lot more mouths to feed,

  • and this is something that worries more and more people.

  • There was an FAO conference last October

  • that was completely devoted to this.

  • How are we going to feed this world?

  • And if you look at the figures up there,

  • it says that we have a third more mouths to feed,

  • but we need an agricultural production increase

  • of 70 percent.

  • And that's especially because this world population

  • is increasing,

  • and it's increasing, not only in numbers,

  • but we're also getting wealthier,

  • and anyone that gets wealthier starts to eat more

  • and also starts to eat more meat.

  • And meat, in fact, is something

  • that costs a lot

  • of our agricultural production.

  • Our diet consists, [in] some part, of animal proteins,

  • and at the moment, most of us here

  • get it from livestock,

  • from fish, from game.

  • And we eat quite a lot of it.

  • In the developed world it's on average

  • 80 kilograms per person per year,

  • which goes up to 120

  • in the United States

  • and a bit lower in some other countries,

  • but on average 80 kilograms

  • per person per year.

  • In the developing world it's much lower.

  • It's 25 kilograms per person per year.

  • But it's increasing enormously.

  • In China in the last 20 years,

  • it increased from 20 to 50,

  • and it's still increasing.

  • So if a third of the world population

  • is going to increase its meat consumption

  • from 25 to 80 on average,

  • and a third of the world population

  • is living in China and in India,

  • we're having an enormous demand on meat.

  • And of course, we are not there to say

  • that's only for us, it's not for them.

  • They have the same share that we have.

  • Now to start with, I should say

  • that we are eating way too much meat

  • in the Western world.

  • We could do with much, much less --

  • and I know, I've been a vegetarian for a long time,

  • and you can easily do without anything.

  • You'll get proteins in any kind of food anyway.

  • But then there's a lot of problems

  • that come with meat production,

  • and we're being faced with that more and more often.

  • The first problem that we're facing is human health.

  • Pigs are quite like us.

  • They're even models in medicine,

  • and we can even transplant organs from a pig to a human.

  • That means that pigs also share diseases with us.

  • And a pig disease,

  • a pig virus, and a human virus

  • can both proliferate,

  • and because of their kind of reproduction,

  • they can combine and produce a new virus.

  • This has happened in the Netherlands in the 1990s

  • during the classical swine fever outbreak.

  • You get a new disease that can be deadly.

  • We eat insects -- they're so distantly related from us

  • that this doesn't happen.

  • So that's one point for insects.

  • (Laughter)

  • And there's the conversion factor.

  • You take 10 kilograms of feed,

  • you can get one kilogram of beef,

  • but you can get nine kilograms of locust meat.

  • So if you would be an entrepreneur,

  • what would you do?

  • With 10 kilograms of input,

  • you can get either one or nine kg. of output.

  • So far we're taking

  • the one, or up to five kilograms of output.

  • We're not taking the bonus yet.

  • We're not taking the nine kilograms of output yet.

  • So that's two points for insects.

  • (Laughter)

  • And there's the environment.

  • If we take 10 kilograms of food --

  • (Laughter)

  • and it results in one kilogram of beef,

  • the other nine kilograms are waste,

  • and a lot of that is manure.

  • If you produce insects, you have less manure

  • per kilogram of meat that you produce.

  • So less waste.

  • Furthermore, per kilogram of manure,

  • you have much, much less ammonia

  • and fewer greenhouse gases

  • when you have insect manure

  • than when you have cow manure.

  • So you have less waste,

  • and the waste that you have is not as environmental malign

  • as it is with cow dung.

  • So that's three points for insects.