Edible insects and arachnids is a concept that most Americans are not yet comfortable with, but if officials with the United Nations have their way, Americans will one day embrace edible insects just as they now embrace other arthropod species as food, such as lobsters. While it may take some time before Americans are willing to trade their Big Macs for cricket patties, citizens of most other countries are already used to consuming bugs. Edible insects are particularly well accepted as a source of food in Asia. In Asian countries, some insects and arachnid species are considered delicacies while others are considered tasty snacks. In Japan, for example, people treat edible insects like Americans treat potato chips and corn nuts. In fact, in the island country, both insect and arachnid edibles can be purchased in a vending machine. This makes Japan the first country to offer bugs as a food option in vending machines.
Crickets, insect larvae, numerous beetle species and even giant spiders are now pre-cooked and served up in a vending machine in Japan. For those who crave sugary snacks, some of these bug options are coated with chocolate. These insect edibles are advertised as being healthy and high in protein, while others come in candy bar form. Toshiyuki Tomoda, a shopkeeper in the Japanese city of Kumamoto, was curious as to how popular edible insects would be if they were sold in vending machines, so he took it upon himself to install such a vending machine outside of his store. Much to his surprise, the edible bugs were a hit with the public, as more than 500 items from the machine were purchased in the first month. Tomoda says that the crickets that are sold from his machine taste similar to shellfish and, apparently, these insects are great with a bit of mayo and a small amount of red pepper.
Would you be willing to eat any of the bugs that are available in this Japanese vending machine?