Edible Bugs TED Talks

As we all know, there are absolutely loads of videos on edible bugs out there, some of which we’ve posted before here and here. Recently, however, there has been an increase in the number of people advocating edible bugs and their companies through regional entomophagy TED Talks. Everyone loves a good TED Talk and thanks to inspiration from 4ento and their original TED Talk post, we’ve made our own collection.

This list will be updated as and when new videos emerge, but to suggest additions, just let us know. So without further ado, and in chronological order with excerpts from TED’s various YouTube channels, we begin with THE original entomophagy TED talk from Marcel Dicke.

Use the green buttons below to navigate through the talks.

Marcel Dicke (Dec 2010)

Why Not Eat Insects?

Prof.Dr. Marcel Dicke makes an appetising case for adding edible bugs to everyone’s diet. His message to squeamish chefs and foodies: delicacies like locusts and caterpillars compete with meat in flavour, nutrition and eco-friendliness.

Jason Drew (Apr 2011)

Avoiding the Protein Crunch

Before we get on to the talks on insects for human food, Jason Drew gives us an insight into how insects can be used to offset the damage caused by overfishing – essentially by breeding flies from organic waste to substitute for fishmeal. His argument is that by giving chicken and fish this alternative protein source (one which for chickens is their natural food source anyway), we can stave off some of the damage that farming our seas for livestock feed is causing.

David Gracer (Jun 2011)

Eating Bugs

Dave has presented entomophagy to the public at libraries, museums, schools, and other institutions; spoken at several conferences, including the seminal FAO event in 2008, in Thailand; and gotten a good deal of media attention. He’s appeared on The Colbert Report, The Tyra Banks Show, and a few similar venues; been profiled or referenced in numerous publications, including The New York Times, Discover Magazine, Time, and others; given a TEDx talk; and been interviewed on NPR. He’s also participated in several insect-chef cook-offs, where he demonstrates his lack of cooking skills.

Florence Dunkel (Apr 2012)

Eat Less Meat, More Bugs

We are concerned about our sustainable food practices right now and for the near future. We are concerned about over-harvesting our oceans. We are concerned about running out of land, water, and fossil fuels, just to produce beef which is a much higher methane producer while Galleria and other land shrimp, the insects, are more nutritious and more efficient converters of food into protein. Try land shrimp. They are more nutritious and more gentle on the environment than beef. Open your world to other ways of knowing—knowledge developed over millennia by other-than-western cultures.

Dr. Dunkel is an Associate Professor of Entomology in the Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology, Montana State University — Bozeman (MSU — Bozeman) with a Ph. D., M.S. and B.S. from the University of Wisconsin — Madison. Her research focuses on plant-based natural products for insect management, particularly related to post-harvest ecosystems worldwide. Florence’s current research products include use of natural products in the holistic management of grasshoppers in Montana and of malaria in West African (Malian) villages. Edible bugs and bug feasts have been part of her curriculum in Entomology for 23 years after a tasty introduction to sautéed brown locusts while working in Rwanda.

Arnold van Huis (Sep 2012)

Eating Insects

Prof.Dr.Ir. Arnold van Huis worked from 1974 to 1979 in Nicaragua for the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations on integrated pest management (IPM) in foodgrains. From 1982 to 1985 he coordinated from Niger a regional crop protection training project for eight Sahelian countries. From 1985 onwards he worked as a tropical entomologist at Wageningen University, the Netherlands, and has been responsible for a number of IPM and biological control projects in the tropics. He most recently coordinated an interdisciplinary project in Benin, Ghana and Mali entitled “Convergence of Sciences”. He also runs a project in the Netherlands called “Sustainable Production of Insect Proteins”. This project explores the potential of the sustainable production of high quality edible bugs and insect-derived products, and in particular proteins, from side streams (organic waste). He also serves as a consultant to FAO on insects as food and feed.

As the first author of “Het insectenkookboek” Arnold van Huis will try to convince the audience to eat insects. They are not only very healthy (because of the protein), but also delicious! Producing insects as mini-livestock has many advantages over the production of conventional meat. In tropical countries close to 2000 insect species are consumed, e.g. in Mexico they like roasted ants, in Thailand they eat giant water bugs, and in Japan they eat wasps. So why not here?! Do you know where you can buy edible bugs, which ones you can eat and how to prepare them? Listen to the talk from Van Huis and discover a whole new world of food.

Marian Peters (Sep 2013)

Recipe for the Future

Marian Peters is a Dutch food entrepreneur who is working on getting insects into everything. Marian and her team promote the use of edible bugs and critters as a sustainable food replacement and new ingredient. Based out of the Food Valley in the Dutch town of Wageningen, she not only produces but also lectures and educates about the idea of using insects in food. Her lectures, demos, and tastings are wildly popular and continue to attract. Marian will tell you in person at TEDxMaastricht how your food of tomorrow will contain edible bugs and why you will love it. You can find out more about Marian by reading an article about her here.

Shobhita Soor (Jan 2014)

Farming Insects For Food

Entomophagy, the human consumption of insects, is practiced by 35% of the world’s population. Currently, for the most part, insects are harvested. We propose the farming of insects as a solution to food insecurity which would provide a steady supply of insects as well as lower the price, thus providing a cheap source of protein and nutrients to the world’s under-served communities.

Ruud Kleinpaste (Feb 2014)

Putting 'Eco' back into Economics

Ruud is one of the amazing people that New Zealand imported from the world at large, in this case from the Netherlands (although he was born in Indonesia). He has held a few positions in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries but will be forever remembered within New Zealand as ‘the Bugman’. Ruud has carried a flag for a number of environmental causes such as the protection of native birds and more eco-friendly agriculture. He’s reached people of all ages since the 1980s, first through his talkback radio show, “Ruud’s Awakening”, and then in his TV series, ‘Buggin’ with Ruud’.

Megan Miller (Mar 2014)

Are Insects the Future of Food?

Megan Miller is founder of Bitty, a San Francisco-based food startup that uses high-protein cricket flour as the basis for a line of energy bars and gluten-free baked goods. Bitty seeks to remove cultural taboos around eating insects and popularize them as a delicious, sustainable ingredient that may help alleviate global food scarcity. Megan’s passions for food, sustainability and innovation led her circuitously to the creation of Bitty.

In her early twenties, she studied anthropology and agriculture at the University of Maryland with a focus on human-food relationships, worked for the USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program, apprenticed on an organic farm and cooked in the pastry kitchen of a fine-dining restaurant. She also backpacked around Mexico and Thailand, where she first sampled edible bugs from street-food vendors. After earning her MA in philosophy at St. John’s College, she moved to New York City, where she worked in editorial and digital roles at National Geographic Adventure, New York magazine and Popular Science. Megan became regarded as an expert in digital media innovation, appearing frequently as a TV talking head and speaker at events like CES and SXSW Interactive.

In 2010, she relocated to San Francisco to head the U.S. R&D team for a global media company. Business travel took her around the world, including visits back to Latin America and Asia, where she developed the idea of introducing edible bugs to Western culture. Surrounded by the Bay Area’s food and entrepreneurship communities, she launched Bitty to make that dream a reality.

Lucy Freeman & Jirina Fargeorge (Jul 2014)

Don't Bug Out -- Challenging Food Taboos

Entomophagy – eating insects – has recently been gaining momentum in the US and Europe as an environmentally friendly and healthy “micro crop” for sustainable farming. However, it is a taboo to eat insects in these parts of the world. In this talk, Lucy and Jirina challenge us to think about current and future food practices.

This talk is produced collaboratively by the students of Anthropology 300: Ancient Food for Thought, a course that explores food customs across time and space. The producing team comprises 19 students ranging from sophomores to seniors, and representing majors from the social sciences, humanities, health sciences and communications.

Laetitia Giroud (Oct 2014)

Why you should Eat my Six Legged Livestock (Spanish)

Laetitia has a farm, but not a farm as we know it. In her farm she grows insects to be eaten by animals and humans alike. A farm that can offer a sustainable way of getting better protein, delicious flavours and a healthier diet.

Laetitia had a double training, first in international marketing, advertising and communication at ISEG Business School in Toulouse, and then in language science, with a focus on animals and insect communication systems at University o Tolosa Le Mirail. As an expert in logistics and supply chain, she directed projects and teams at DHL y Hellmann Worldwide Logistics. A vegetarian for the last 12 years, in 2008 she discovered the power of insects as a source of protein, while she was living in the USA. She then became an expert in the mass production of insects and co-founded Insagri, based in Conil, Malaga. Insagri specialises in the production and processing of insects for human and animal consumption.

Pat Crowley (Oct 2014)

Can Eating Insects Solve Global Issues in an Ever-Changing World?

Have you ever thought about the connection between our water supply, climate change, and the foods you eat regularly? In this talk, as funny as it is fascinating, Pat Crowley shares some surprising insight and fresh perspective on the unique and rare opportunity humans have at hand to change the course of history by simply changing our diet.

Pat Crowley is one random guy. His career path has taken him from surf guide, to whitewater rafting guide, to hydrologist, to now insect-eating entrepreneur, all driven for his passion to ensure a more sustainable water future. After a year of hitchhiking through Mexico and Central America, Pat Crowley returned to the US and received a M.S. in Watershed Hydrology, intending to use his education towards solving global water dilemmas he witnessed in his travels. His concern for our water future here at home increased as he observed the disproportionate rate of water consumption vs. availability. His early career path focused on agricultural water conservation, the largest global consumer of freshwater resources. After having worked for public water-planning agencies, Pat decided to address the issue from the consumer level, when he co-founded Chapul in 2012. His mission now is to introduce insects into Western cuisine as a more water-resource efficient form of food. The intent is to create a consumer demand that will drive changes at the agricultural level towards a more sustainable food system. When he’s not in the Chapul kitchen, he can be found playing in the nearest river, lake, or ocean.

Pat Crowley (Nov 2014)

Why Not Eat Insects

Pat Crowley pioneers the changing psychology of eating bugs. He is the founder of Chapul (from the Aztec word for ‘cricket’) and has a compelling vision for a new sustainable protein source for the world; one that will revolutionise the marketplace. An adventurous outdoorsman from Salt Lake City, Pat was recently on the primetime ABC show Shark Tank where he convinced a shark, Mark Cuban, to join him in “feeding the revolution.”

Bastien Rabastens (Dec 2014)

The Cricket Revolution (French)

Have you ever tasted insects? Bastien Rabastens explains to us how entomophagy can become a part of our daily lives. He convinces us about the positive effects of eating insects on our body, but also on the environment. Trained as a lawyer, Bastien started his company, Jimini’s, in October 2012. His challenge: make people discover the true flavours of edible bugs.

Kevin Bachhuber (Feb 2015)

Alternative Protein

Kevin Bachhuber is the founder of Big Cricket Farms, the first urban edible insect farm in the US. His prior work has been among marginalised communities, and his current projects focus on economic revitalisation in disinvested communities.

Pat Crowley (Apr 2015)

Eating Insects

Pat introduces insects into Western cuisine as a more water-resource efficient form of food. He comes across the pond to share his experiences in the changing psychology of eating insects over the past several years.

Craig Macfarlane (Apr 2015)

Bugs for Life

The world is facing a food crisis the scale of which truly begs the question “How to be OK in the future.” Craig’s answer may be unpalatable to many of us – insects. The Co-Founder of Bugs for Life, Craig presents an unusual solution to the growing global food crisis – insects. Craig draws on his time studying bug-eating in Africa and South-East Asia to deliver this inspiring and entertaining talk.

Charles Spence (May 2015)

Entomophagy in our World

Professor Spence pinpoints that with the issue of global obesity crisis only getting worse the unorthodox solution may be moving towards widespread enthomophagy. Maybe, it works for lowering salt in foods or perhaps using neurograstronomy, focusing on pleasurable aspects. Charles addresses all these questions above in his great interactive speech.

Wendy Lu McGill (May 2015)

Entomophagy - Edible Bugs are a Healthy and Sustainable Food

Wendy Lu McGill is concerned with the way we eat. She challenges us to take a hard look at our food chain and its impact on our environment. How? By eating insects. She addresses the fact that insects are an acquired taste and when you take into account the negative environmental affects of traditional livestock (and some of her incredible stats), you might just re-imagine entomophagy. With an interest in sustainability, Wendy Lu McGill, a social science researcher, has made it her mission to change the way we think about our food consumption habits. She is challenging the Western notion that bugs are simply a nuisance to be swatted away, and is promoting entomophagy–the practice of eating insects. McGill, who is beginning a study of people farming palm weevil larvae in Ghana with Aspire Food Group, is hoping to educate people who are concerned about sustainability, future food supplies, and the impact of livestock on the environment, by promoting the health benefits of insects. She has volunteered locally to bring a community garden to her kids’ school, is establishing Denver’s only urban orchard, and can be found holding bug eating workshops around the city.

Búi Aðalsteinsson (June 2015)

Why I Love Eating Insects and why you will too

Búi, product designer and entrepreneur, speaks of why we need to eat more insects, and what he thinks needs to be done to make them appealing to the modern man’s appetite. Búi Aðalsteinsson and Stefán Thoroddsen shared a passion of finding ways to satisfy people’s needs of eating healthy and natural food products, that are also made in a more sustainable way than we have gotten used to. Combining their skills in product design, business and marketing, they founded Crowbar Protein in June 2014, a company that makes food products with edible insects.

Jenny Josephs (July 2015)

Why Eating Bugs will soon become the New Normal

A mouthful of mealworms may not be your first thought when hungry, but perhaps you will think differently after this fascinating talk from Dr Jenny Josephs in which she makes a compelling argument for why in the not too distant future eating insects will become the new normal. Dr Jenny Josephs is a research psychologist at the University of Southampton. Inspired by the low maintenance of her own pet bugs, she began investigating the environmental and nutritional benefits of edible insects. Jenny now works to promote edible insects at science and sustainability events in order to engage with people who will join the insect food revolution.

Ana C. Day (July 2015)

Hopping vs Hoping

Ana shares some good ideas and thoughts on why we should consider insects as a new and broad source for our nutrition plan. Ana is a dynamic and resourceful designer and mover of solutions in a wide variety of scenarios. She is currently collaborating with entrepreneurs, leading experts and academics towards the dissemination of information and education on the potential advantages of Entomophagy as a sustainable and responsible alternate food source. Moved by what she saw as necessity for the future, Ana founded 4Ento in 2013 with the goal of creating an education platform to act as a catalyst for finding global solutions to combat the threatening world nutrition crisis. In 2014, she introduced the 4Ento Edible Insect Pavilion, a platform for trade shows that showcases up-and-coming startups and ento-partners who are shaping the industry — and the food of the future.

Leslie Ziegler (November 2015)

Can crickets save the world?

They don’t just chirp, those little creatures are the future of food for the human race. Leslie Ziegler – is the co-founder of Bitty Foods, a company introducing edible insects to the western diet, and serves as an advisor to several start ups at the convergence of health and technology. Previously, she was part of the founding team at Rock Health, an incubator focused on digital health, and served primarily as the firm’s creative director and chief evangelist. Leslie speaks internationally on health, design and technology, most recently at SXSW, Chicago Ideas Week, and WIRED, and has been featured in publications including Fast Company, NPR, Time, GQ, Entrepreneur, and The New York Times.

Katharina Unger (November 2015)

What if this device could change your eating habits?

Can you imagine having bugs in your home or growing food on your plastic scraps? Livin Studio’s projects, like an insect breeding device and a plastic digesting prototype amongst others, have stirred up ideas on how an interface between nature, technology and people could look like. As certain design guidelines are followed, people become more comfortable with the implementation of such products in their homes that will ultimately reduce costs and environmental impact, as well as improve living quality. Katharina grew up raising chickens, cows and horses. Noticing the dramatic state of our food system while living in Hong Kong, she is now determined to “design nature for humans”, her first product is a desktop insect farm.

Alex Drysdale (August 2016)

It's Time we Put Bugs in our Pantry

Crickets farms are far better for the environment than cattle farms. Maybe it’s time to reevaluate what we eat.

Founder of Crik Nutrition, Alex is passionate about the impact our health choices have on animal welfare and the environment. Crik was named one of the World’s 20 Hottest Startups by CNBC and listed in the Top 10 companies to Watch by Food in Canada Magazine.

Shobhita Soor (August 2016)

Making Insect Farm-to-Table Dining Trendy

Founding member of Aspire Food Group Shobhita Soor acquaints us with a commonly overlooked but sustainable source of protein, and the cultural obstacles faced in introducing it to dinner tables around the world.