Just listening to the radio, there was again the claim that two billion people eat (daily) regularly insects. After having lived in a few parts of this world, I do not believe that anymore.
Some sources for this claim: The Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education has a page titled:
Expert: More than 2 billion people worldwide eat insects every day
Some scientific citations go back to: FAO's "Edible insects" publication (which doesn't explain how they end up with that number). In its Executive Summary it says:
It is estimated that insects form part of the traditional diets of at least 2 billion people.
In chapter 3 it's added that
insect consumption is commonplace in the tropics, while in temperate zones it is often absent
So is it true or not? Sometimes people claim countries like Thailand, etc, but from my understanding people not originating from Isan province do not do that. This is 20 Million people (and my suspicion is, that in the wild 2 billion claim they just include the whole country). Also, e.g. in China, while sometimes insects are eaten, this is a rare occurrence, and not a source of protein. (You wouldn't count the worm in the tequila bottle, would you?)
If you've ever eaten anything that contains red die (e.g. maraschino cherries, red candy, soft drinks, apple cider), unless the container is marked Vegan or Kosher, there's a good chance you were eating deliberately added insects. This can include products that say "natural color".
A total of 1025 (96.8%) lay people were currently insect consumers, 135 (13.0%) daily or weekly consumers, and 322 (31.1%) consumed several times per month. For the majority (575, 55.6%) the consumption was infrequent (less than a few times per year) and only 22 (2%) had never eaten insects.
insect consumption is commonplace in the tropics, while in temperate
zones it is often absent
This just seems to be factually incorrect. Regardless of what you consider a 'temperate climate' insect have been consumed by many civilizations throughout mankind's history and in many climates.
Entomophagy or the eating of insect among humans is not entirely bound to certain geographies.
Indonesian botok tawon, spiced bee larvae steamed in banana leaf
package Many cultures embrace the eating of insects. Edible insects
have long been used by ethnic groups in
Asia, Africa, Mexico and South America as
cheap and sustainable sources of protein. Up to 2,086 species are
eaten by 3,071 ethnic groups in 130 countries. The species include
235 butterflies and moths, 344 beetles, 313 ants, bees and wasps, 239
grasshoppers, crickets and cockroaches, 39 termites, and 20
dragonflies, as well as cicadas. Insects are known to be eaten in
80 percent of the world's nations.
The leafcutter ant Atta laevigata is traditionally eaten in some
regions of Colombia and northeast Brazil. In southern Africa, the
widespread moth Gonimbrasia belina's large caterpillar, the mopani or
mopane worm, is a source of food protein. In Australia, the witchetty
grub is eaten by the indigenous population. The grubs of Hypoderma
tarandi, a reindeer parasite, were part of the traditional diet of the
Nunamiut people. Udonga montana is a pentatomid bug that has
periodic population outbreaks and is eaten in northeastern India.
Traditionally several ethnic groups in Indonesia are known to consume
insects—especially grasshoppers, crickets, termites, the larvae of the
sago palm weevil, and bee. In Java and Kalimantan, grasshoppers and
crickets are usually lightly battered and deep fried in palm oil as a
crispy kripik or rempeyek snack. In Banyuwangi, East Java, there
is a specialty botok called botok tawon (honeybee botok), which is
beehives that contains bee larvae, being seasoned in spices and
shredded coconut, wrapped inside a banana leaf package and
steamed. Dayak tribes of Kalimantan, also Moluccans and Papuan
tribes in Eastern Indonesia, are known to consume ulat sagu (lit.
'sagoo caterpillar') or larvae of sago palm weevil. These protein-rich
larvae are considered as a delicacy in Papua, eaten both roasted or
In Thailand, certain insects are also consumed, especially in northern
provinces. Traditional markets in Thailand often have stalls selling
deep-fried grasshoppers, cricket (ching rit), bee larvae, silkworm
(non mai), ant eggs (khai mot) and termites.
The use of insects as an ingredient in traditional foodstuffs in
places such as Hidalgo in Mexico has been on a large enough scale to
cause their populations to decline.
Locusts are edible insects. Several cultures throughout the world
consume insects, and locusts are considered a delicacy and eaten in
many African, Middle Eastern, and Asian countries. They have been used
as food throughout history.
They can be cooked in many ways, but are often fried, smoked, or
dried. The Bible records that John the Baptist ate locusts and
wild honey (Greek: ἀκρίδες καὶ μέλι ἄγριον, romanized: akrides kai
meli agrion) while living in the wilderness. Attempts have been
made to explain the locusts as some ascetic vegetarian food such as
carob beans, but the plain meaning of akrides is the insects.
The Torah, although disallowing the use of most insects as food,
permits the consumption of certain locusts; specifically, the red, the
yellow, the spotted grey, and the white are considered
permissible. In Islamic jurisprudence, eating locusts is
considered halal. The Islamic prophet, Muhammad, was reported
to have eaten locusts during a military raid with his companions.
Locusts are eaten in the Arabian Peninsula, including Saudi
Arabia, where consumption of locusts spiked around Ramadan
especially in the Al-Qassim Region in 2014, since many Saudis believe
they are healthy to eat. The Saudi Ministry of Health warned that
pesticides they used against the locusts made them unsafe.
Yemenis also consume locusts, and expressed discontent over
governmental plans to use pesticides to control them. ʻAbd
al-Salâm Shabînî described a locust recipe from Morocco. 19th
century European travellers observed Arabs in Arabia, Egypt, and
Morocco selling, cooking, and eating locusts. They reported that
in Egypt and Palestine locusts were consumed. They reported that
in Palestine, around the River Jordan, in Egypt, in Arabia, and in
Morocco that Arabs ate locusts, while Syrian peasants did not eat
In the Haouran region, Fellahs who were in poverty and suffered from
famine ate locusts after removing the guts and head, while locusts
were swallowed whole by Bedouins. Syrians, Copts, Greeks,
Armenians, and other Christians and Arabs themselves reported that in
Arabia locusts were eaten frequently and one Arab described to a
European traveler the different types of locusts which were favored as
food by Arabs. Persians use the Anti-Arab racial slur "Arabe
malakh-khor" (Persian: عرب ملخ خور, literally Arab locust eater)
Locusts yield about five times more edible protein per unit of fodder
than cattle, and produce lower levels of greenhouse gases in the
process. The feed conversion rate of orthopterans is 1.7
kg/kg, while for beef it is typically about 10 kg/kg. The
protein content in fresh weight is between 13–28 g / 100 g for adult
locust, 14–18 g / 100 g for larvae, as compared to 19–26 g / 100 g for
beef. The calculated protein efficiency ratio is low, with
1.69 for locust protein compared to 2.5 for standard casein. A serving of 100 g of desert locust provides 11.5 g of fat, 53.5% of
which is unsaturated, and 286 mg of cholesterol. Among the fatty
acids, palmitoleic, oleic, and linolenic acids were found to be the
most abundant. Varying amounts of potassium, sodium, phosphorus,
calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc were present.
Expert: More than 2 billion people worldwide eat insects every day
At the very least you could say that countries with at least 2 billion people in them consume insects. How often or how many they eat would be hard to estimate with any real amount of certainty.
(You wouldn't count the worm in the tequila bottle, would you?)
Actually According to Anthony Dias Blue's Complete Book of Spirits, that "worm" is actually a larva from one of two types of moths, known as maguey worms, that live on the agave plant. These larvae are called gusano and bottles of mezcal that contain the creepy critters are referred to as con gusano.
A larvae of an insect is not a worm. The worm in tequila is not a worm at all and very much an infant insect.