The Insect Cookbook – Food for a Sustainable Planet written by Arnold van Huis, Henk van Gurp and Marcel Dicke has won first prize at the 2014 Green Book Festival in San Francisco in the cookbooks category. The prize, which will be presented on 17 May in San Francisco, is a sign that the message being put out by the Wageningen authors is making an international breakthrough.
The Insect Cookbook outlines the benefits of and need for insects as a sustainable future source of protein. Alongside numerous beautifully illustrated recipes, the cookbook also features interviews with influential people. René Redzepi, top chef at Noma (the best restaurant in the world), explains the importance of insects in his quest for new culinary flavours. Former secretary-general of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, stresses the importance of education and information to familiarise people in the West with this source of food. And top economist Herman Wijffels describes the significance of insects as a source of protein in a circular economy.
Insects (‘mini livestock’) have a tiny ecological footprint when compared with meat: it takes much less feed and land to produce a kilogram of insect protein than a kilogram of meat protein. The nutritional value of insects is similar to that of beef. In addition, insects contain a lot of healthy, polyunsaturated fatty acids and minerals, such as iron.
The rapid increase in the global population and the growth in prosperity are causing a huge rise in the demand for animal protein. The possibilities of using regular sources of animal protein are limited. Insects are a promising new source of food, and are part of the staple diet of around two billion people in large areas of the world. China, Thailand, the United States and even the Netherlands are already farming insects for human consumption on a large scale.
The Insect Cookbook is an extended version of Het Insectenkookboek (Atlas Contact, 2012). It is published by the prestigious American publisher Columbia University Press in New York.