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Even with such powerful companies on board, it will be difficult to grow a business from zero to, say, one-third the size of the current livestock industry by 2050. To establish insect farming as a significant enterprise so quickly, its practitioners will have to innovate in radical ways. Is it possible, for example, to grow a grasshopper the size of a hummingbird using growth hormones? Will we need new laws that require TV networks to air commercials promoting the benefits of entomophagy during shows aimed at children?
For those who have been envisioning the future of insect farming as a local, small-scale, farm-to-fork endeavor, a way to exterminate the corporate food system once and for all, the idea of using free collectible figurines to help sell genetically modified grub nuggets may be as hard to swallow as a cockroach sandwich. Yet unless 2050 has many more tequila bars than we have now, it seems unlikely that entomophagy will catch without Big Food at the table.
Contributing Editor Greg Beato writes from San Francisco.