Would you prefer crickets as pets or as food?
When you think about crickets probably you think about summer nights with barbecues or bonfires or naked feet in the grass. What else comes to your mind? Do you think of crickets as pets? Or as a talisman?
In China, people keep crickets as pets in their homes. The tradition to put the insects in little clay pots, bamboo cages or gourds or even pocket sized tubes, dates back 2,000 years to the emperors of Ancient China. Crickets are valued for their singing and they are believed to bring good luck. Also crickets are able to lay hundreds of eggs, which made them even more intriguing to Chinese people, who think that success in life depends on having many children.
There are crickets that are bred by acclaimed breeders and that cost a few hundred dollars. Why? Because their bodies promise to make them champions in cricket fights. The strongest and bravest cricket — in his weight class — the one that is able to scare away its opponent or push him over the edge of the fighting container, wins. Bets on cricket champs can be hundreds of dollars and there are funerals held for the most famous fighters. There is even a National Cricket Fighting Championship held very year in Beijing.
Protein of the future
But how about crickets for dinner? In 2050 there will be about 9 billion people living on Earth. Providing nutritious food for the increasing number of humans while decreasing the impact of food production on our environment will be a huge challenge. Crickets and other insects might be a solution. They are high in protein and they are already a delicacy in Vietnam, Thailand and Laos.