So exotic, the future. Can't wait to get there, you say? Well, have you thought about what you're going to eat?
(Edible insect farms)
Edible insects are currently expensive. Precise prices are hard to come by, but current wholesale prices for freeze-dried Dutch mealworms, crickets and locusts are believed to be around £40, £90 and £160 a kg respectively. As long as rib-eye and sirloin steaks remain cheaper than the cheapest of bugs, the chances of edible insects breaking out of their foodie niche seem slim.
The bug farmers say larger farms will bring economies of scale and lower prices. Others, however, believe the idea of farming crickets in the UK is misguided, because they need to be kept at 25C or higher.
“Farming crickets here consumes a lot of energy to keep them warm, and that has an environmental cost,” says Nick Cooper, who has been importing insects into the UK mostly from Thailand for almost four years through his Derby-based company, Crunchy Critters.
In his 1994 story NatuLife, sf author David Brin gives us a taste of this very future:
...I balked when my wife served me termites.
"Come on, honey, try one. They're delicious."
Gaia had the hive uncrated and warmed up by the time I got home. Putting down my briefcase, I stared at hundreds of the pasty-scaled critters scrabbling under a plastic cover; tending their fat queen, devouring kitchen trimming, making themselves right at home in my home.
(Read more about Brin's home termite habitat)
Of course, fans of science fiction films recall (or recoil from) the first scene in Bladerunner 2049, set in a grub farm.