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Pupils of John McGlashan College, where the event took place yesterday, and Taieri College were spoken to about the nutritional and environmental value of eating insects.
Tom Fowler, of John McGlashan College, tasted the array of insects available.
He was considering adding the lightly salted crickets to his diet, but the teriyaki mealworms and the escargot snails were not for him.
Tom was not quite ready to exchange his favourite cut of meat — a porterhouse steak — for the insects, but he could see how alternative proteins might become more normalised in the future.
Tom was also the winner of the blindfolded insect eating challenge, where pupils taped their eyes shut and tried to keep a straight face while eating unknown bugs.
‘‘I just pretended it was nice food and it kind of worked.’’
John McGlashan College director of agribusiness Dr Craig Preston said the future of alternative proteins was looking bright.
Insects were already eaten in about 80% of countries around the world, he said.
It took only a few litres of water to produce 1kg of insects, but about 8000 litres of water to produce a kilogram of beef, he said.
The texture and the ‘‘yuck’’ factor kept the Western world from embracing the cuisine, but he hoped that would soon change.
He compared it to eating raw fish, which was unheard of until the 1990s but was now common.
He believed with the right promotion people would be more open to introducing alternative proteins into their diet.