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China emerges as potential market for edible insects

eating insects in China, edible insects, Chinese market

Remember when eating bugs still had some shock value? "We've come a long way in just the past three years, now everybody has heard about the topic of eating insects," says Katharina Unger, the founder of Hong Kong-based startup Livin Farms.

还记得吃虫子仍有一些令人震惊的价值吗?"在过去的三年中我们取得了巨大的进展,如今所有人都听说过吃昆虫的话题。"香港的初创公司Livin Farms创始人凯瑟琳娜•安格尔说道。

From cricket power bars in the U.S. to microalgae-based biscuits in Japan, the edible-insect movement certainly appears to be gaining traction. There's even a World Edible Insect Day.

从美国的蟋蟀能量棒,到日本的微藻成分饼干,可食用昆虫运动的发展明显加快。甚至还有世界可食用昆虫日。

As a result, Unger thinks now is the time to bring the world's first desktop Hive for edible insects to market. Her aim is to enable consumers to grow healthy and sustainable food from a small space in their homes.

所以,安格尔认为如今是将全球首个用于养殖可食用昆虫的桌面蜂房引入市场的时候了。她的目的就是让顾客能在家中很小的空间内生产健康和可持续的食物。

In recent years, a growing number of experts have been extolling the benefits of entomophagy–the term for dining on insects. And this 'entopreneur' and her partner, Julia Kaisinger, have piles of data to support their case. 

近几年,越来越多的专家们都在称赞食虫的益处。而这位"创业者"和她的合作伙伴茱莉亚·凯辛格有大量支持她们观点的数据。

"We're pumping 80% of the world's antibiotics into livestock production, and about one-third of our croplands are being used to feed those animals," Unger said. "That was a really a devastating discovery."

"我们将全球八成的抗生素注入到家畜体内,并且三分之一的农田用于喂养这些动物,"安格尔说道,"那真是一个灾难性的发现。"

Moreover, edible insects are already a multi-million dollar sector in nearby Thailand, according to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Two years ago, the agency published a report on the country's bug-eating industry, concluding that "insects are extremely rich in protein, vitamins and minerals." 

此外,据联合国粮食及农业组织表示,可食昆虫在邻近的泰国已经成为规模高达数百万美元的产业。两年前,该组织发布了一份关于泰国食用虫产业的报告,得出了结论表示"昆虫体内富含丰富的蛋白质、维生素和矿物质。"

In fact, the "food of choice" for many Thai people can often cost more than chicken, beef or pork due to the high demand from consumers there. 

事实上,对于很多泰国人来说,由于消费者的高需求,这种"食物选择"的价格往往要高于鸡肉、牛肉或猪肉。

The FAO also points out that "insects consumed as human food have far less negative impact on the environment, including greenhouse gas emissions, than conventional livestock."

联合国粮农组织还指出,"将昆虫作为人类的食物,相比传统家畜,对环境产生的不利影响要少得多,包括温室气体排放。"

Across Asia, Africa, and Latin America, people have been known to eat over 1,900 species of bugs, but one of the main concerns is that they usually harvest them from the wild. There's no way of knowing where the insects have been and what they've consumed.

在亚洲、非洲和拉丁美洲,人们食用的昆虫种类达到1,900多种,但其中一个主要担忧是这些昆虫往往来自野外 。根本没办法了解这些昆虫到底去过哪些地方,以及它们吃了什么。

Unger's design allows consumers to use their own vegetable scraps to grow up to 500 grams of mealworms each week. It relies on a system of sensors and heat to regulate the insects' growth. 

安格尔的设计能够让消费者们使用自己的蔬菜残叶,每周喂养最多500克的面包虫。这个装置依靠一个传感器和热力系统来控制昆虫的生长。

With another 49 days to go, Livin Farms is already well over halfway to reaching their goal of $100,000 in funding through a Kickstarter campaign. They expect to begin deliveries in November of next year.

Livin Farms在Kickstarter上进行的10万美元融资项目已经完成过半目标,还有49天结束。他们预计明年11月份能够开始生产。

Unger has been developing her Hive as part of the HAX accelerator for hardware startups in Shenzhen. HAX is owned by the $250 million venture capital firm SOSV that was founded by Sean O'Sullivan, who is probably best known for developing street address maps for PCs and for coining the term "cloud computing."

安格尔的Hive是HAX加速器的一个项目,这是位于深圳的硬件初创企业加速器。HAX隶属于风投公司SOSV,其管理的资金规模为2.5亿美元,该公司由肖恩·奥沙利文创建,肖恩最为人熟知的一点可能就是为个人电脑开发了街道地址地图,以及创造了"云计算"这一术语。

HAX General Partner Benjamin Joffe calls Shenzhen the Silicon Valley for hardware. By developing their prototypes in China's manufacturing hub, Livin Farms and the other 29 startups selected by HAX this year have been able to drastically reduce their development time and costs. 

HAX的普通合伙人本杰明·乔弗将深圳称为"硬件的硅谷"。通过在中国的制造业中心开发他们的产品原型,今年Livin Farms和由HAX挑选的其他29家初创企业已经能够大幅减少他们的研发时间和成本。

"Surrounded by all the mentors, there was a wide array of expertise flowing into our project." Unger said. "They're really visionary."  

"身边有众多良师益友,我们项目获取了大量专业知识。"安格尔说道,"他们都是非常有远见的人士。"

And her partner Kaisinger pointed to another benefit in terms of exploring a potential market on their doorstep. "Chinese people have been eating bugs for years! It's already one of the top places in the world for growing insects."

而她的合伙人凯辛格还指出了他们探索潜在市场的另一大益处。"中国人已经吃了很多年的虫子了!这里已经是养殖昆虫最佳的地区之一。"

2016-06-23

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