ANTANANARIVO, MADAGASCAR (Fox News) - While Americans aren't lining up to scarf down a bowl of crickets, consuming insects as part of a balanced diet is a critical part to the culture of many other countries around the world.

And, the trend could be taking off here in the states, as biologists say edible insects can provide solutions to hunger and climate change. Insects are going from pests to protein packed menu items, with the potential to combat the world's ongoing hunger and climate crises.

"They're low in fat. they're high in nutrients, minerals, uh, calcium. uh, so they're good for you."

Unlike traditional forms of protein like beef, environmentalists say creepy crawlies like crickets, mealworms, waxworms, and more require less water, food, and space to grow, creating opportunities to reduce deforestation, green house gas emissions, and resource consumption.

According to the World Wide Fund For Nature, "25-percent of global land use, land-use change, and forestry emissions are driven by beef production"
as more of the world's remaining forests are converted into farmland for cattle, and fields to grow their food. But in countries like Madagascar, researchers say making room for more cows isn't a sustainable option, as they work to increase production of edible insects.

Farms Processing Manager Irina Andrianavalona says: "this will be our contribution to our fight against malnutrition in Madagascar."

Meantime, to help feed the increasing global population, the United Nations says, farmers around the world need to increase the size of their harvests by roughly 70-percent by 20-50. And while insects can help fill our stomachs, the U-N says their waste can also be made into low-cost fertilizer for growing crops.

And while insects won't replace the demand for beef overnight, according to estimates from Barclays Bank, the value of the insect protein market is expected go from less than one-billion-dollars to more than eight-billion by 20-30.

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