They're safer than fish, healthier than beef and cheaper than chicken -- bugs: they're what's for dinner. To help get a few more of these insects into our diets, a forward-looking designer has built the Fly Factory, a system for breeding fly larvae for human consumption.
The Fly Factory is a self-contained insect farm that could be installed in a greenhouse or even a commercial kitchen. It's the concept of Icelandic product designer Búi Bjarmar Aðalsteinsson, who built the prototype while at the Icelandic Academy of the Arts and has it currently on display at the Reykjavík Art Museum.
Aðalsteinsson's project was inspired by a widely disseminated United Nations report called "Edible Insects," which pointed to insects as a sustainable, high-protein food source which could help battle food insecurity. Just when you look at the farming aspects, bugs deliver more punch per pound than other protein source: They eat pretty much any type of organic waste and require far less food and water than other animals need to grow.
The Fly Factory acts like a type of composting system, similar to the worm bins many people have in their backyards. The larvae eat table scraps and excrete nitrogen-rich waste which can be used as fertiliser. Plants can be grown in the larvae poop, and then the larvae themselves are harvested for eating. It's kind of the perfect kitchen appliance, a garbage disposal and self-replenishing refrigerator all in one.
In addition to designing his insect factory, Aðalsteinsson has also become a bug chef, perfecting his recipes like larvae pate and coconut-chocolate larvae pudding. The larvae, which are high in fat and protein, do not taste like bugs, says Aðalsteinsson. "They taste like chicken," he tells Dezeen. "There is no distinct taste. It depends on how you spice them and how you prepare them."
Aðalsteinsson's factory is part of a larger concept that includes a high-end restaurant that will help make bugs more intriguing to discerning palates. That's a great plan to help the idea worm its way into the consciousness of the culinary elite. But eating bugs is going to become a very democratic part of dining -- you shouldn't be at all surprised to see insects on a menu near you, soon. [Dezeen]