World’s Popular Protein Sources

April 20, 2012

Protein is a dietary staple, but prices of popular proteins continue to rise. Find out what the world eats and what might pop up on store shelves.

Protein is a macronutrient Americans are obsessed with, and rightly so (to some extent) as the components of a protein offer the building blocks for life.  With America’s typical protein’s prices on the rise (beef and chicken), as well as questions as to what’s actually being sold on the market (pink slime?), The Lempert Report wanted to point out some alternative popular protein sources from around the world, especially as we have increased acculturation – many of these food may end up on supermarket shelves.

In the US, for protein we love animal products like red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk and milk products, but the profile around the world is very different. In Peru for example, guinea pig or cuy is a popular protein source. From France to Korea to Africa and many other places rat is considered a tasty and popular dish (it may be a bit out of taste now). In many parts of Asia, lizard is a common addition to flavor dishes like soups and supposedly tastes like chicken. Turtle soup is also popular in many parts of the world, as well as turtle jelly and the shell is made into an extremely bitter, gelatin dessert; it’s consumed with honey, cream, fruit and other sweeteners. And of course we can’t forget frog legs, a famous delicacy in France and many parts of the world.

What about insects you say? Around the world insects are definitely dietary staples.In Thailand, beetles are popular, in Mexico mosquito eggs are consumed, termites are popular in parts of Africa, and according to recent news the European Commission is offering £2,650,000 to the research institute with the best proposal for investigating “insects as novel sources of proteins.” According to one study, grasshoppers contain 20 percent protein. Crickets are said to be high in calcium, termites rich in iron, and giant silkworm moth larvae are a good source of riboflavin.

In the near future will we be seeing these foods merchandised to certain populations, or to the American public as a whole?


Web Ecoist

Portland State University