MSU bug buffet

"Chirps chips," topped with crickets, are served at the 32nd annual Bug Buffet at Montana State University.

BOZEMAN, Mont. - The Montana State University Bug Buffet is crawling back into town for its 32nd year to teach students and locals about how American meals could change over the coming decades.

It's something you might not notice happening on the shelves of local grocery stores, but the alternative protein industry is booming. Whether it's almond milk or the meat-free Impossible Burger, this could be the future of food.

India-based Meticulous Research finding that the alternative protein market globally is expected to reach almost $18 billion by 2025.

It's a big transformation in the way we eat food and it has the industry abuzz. If you can get over the crunchy exterior, you'll be getting your protein from a creature that takes up significantly less space than livestock, and nearly a third of the world's population is already eating them regularly.

Kara Landolfi, Farm to Campus Coordinator for the Montana State Culinary Services, has been given the unique challenge of incorporating alternative protein - in the form of insects - for a campus of nearly 17,000.

"Insects can be used as an alternative to a protein source and it is really low-impact and it can be a sustainable alternative in addition to our American diet," says Landolfi, "and just adding variety to our normal daily diet."

Montana State is putting their money where their mouth is, trying to add more unique proteins into their food, like cricket cookies served in the dining halls.

You can learn more about the alternative protein industry and how it could change our consumption of food here.

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