Food of the Future

Some of the things that historically determined diet, such as geography and trade, served to develop cultural attitudes about what foods were natively acceptable for consumption. As with everything, there’s an othering process with food too: some are deemed nutritious, delicious and comforting, while others are deemed crazy and repulsive. Even in a globalizing world, this remains true of bugs in the United States, a protein source that’s consumed by about 2 billion people throughout the world. There’s evidence of entomophagous societies (people who eat bugs) going back tens of thousands of years.

When Gabi Lewis was studying at Brown University, he enjoyed powerlifting alongside his formal study of philosophy and economics. He was dabbling in different proteins when his roommate Greg Sewitz sent him a U.N. report about the many social and nutritional benefits of an insect diet. In that report from 2013, when Greg and Gabi were seniors, it said that “It is widely accepted that by 2050 the world will host 9 billion people. To accommodate this number, current food production will need to almost double.” It also reported that insects are a likely way of meeting the intense demand.

So Gabi and Greg decided to do a little experimenting. They bought a couple thousand crickets and brought them back to their house on campus at Brown. What resulted was a cricket protein powder, and those who tried them, loved them. At first it was difficult to get an initial capital injection–perhaps the standard reaction to bug-based investments–but after a very successful Kickstarter campaign in 2013, they’ve quickly raised millions of dollars.