Have you ever wanted to dine like John the Baptist did, minus the camel hair and leather?
Hargol FoodTech, an Israeli-based firm that specializes in insect cultivation for mass consumption, is betting American Evangelicals’ answer to that question is a resounding “Yes, and amen."
In 2020, the company launched Biblical Protein, the first commercial locust farm in the world located on the banks of the Jordan River.
Offering everything from protein shakes to sugar-free gummies and energy bars made from locusts — otherwise known as grasshoppers — Biblical Protein grinds the insects into fine powders that can be added to smoothies, yogurt, salad, pasta sauce and more, according to Hargol CEO Dror Tamir.
“Locusts are an incredible source of protein and essential nutrients,” Tamir told The Christian Post. “Today, if you’re looking for 72 percent protein product, you can only find processed extraction from various animals and plants, while with locusts, it is natural.”
And because of that natural protein content, locusts require no extraction or separation of the nutrients, providing those who partake with essential micronutrients and antioxidants such as omega-3, iron, zinc, folic, acid, and vitamins E and B12.
Tamir said as a young boy, he remembered always hearing his grandparents talk about the locust plagues that ravaged Israel in the 1950s. But while most people were busy working to scare off the locusts and protect their crops, he said Yemen and Moroccan Jews were collecting the insects and using them for food.
While there’s more research to be done, Tamir said there’s already good data to suggest consuming locusts can support the growth of children, improve metabolism, reduce fat, and strengthen the immune system.
“We are now starting to research and unveil the health benefits locusts provide to humans,” he said. “It is still an early stage of research and we need to complete clinical trials, but the indications we have are incredible.”
Calling the locust a "healthy, environmentally friendly treat," the company's website links its product to Scripture as "a modern day biblical experience you will never forget."
The site repeatedly references Bible verses from Genesis to the Gospel of Matthew in promoting its products, and cites testimonials from Christian media personalities such as CBN News' Julie Stahl and TBN's Eric Stakelbeck of "The Watchman."
Locusts are among the few insects approved for consumption in the Bible.
Leviticus 11:20-23 reads: “All flying insects that walk on all fours are to be regarded as unclean by you. There are, however, some flying insects that walk on all fours that you may eat: those that have jointed legs for hopping on the ground. Of these you may eat any kind of locust, katydid, cricket or grasshopper. But all other flying insects that have four legs you are to regard as unclean.”
The delicacy was also mentioned in the New Testament as food eaten by John the Baptist, Jesus’ relative and the forerunner to the Messiah, whose “food was locust and wild honey” (Matthew. 3:4).
Locusts are able to jump 20 times their body length, fly more than 100 miles a day, and multiply their body weight by 15 times in just two weeks.
The extremely fertile species can also multiply their population by a hundredfold in just three months. And locust swarms can expand to as far as nearly 15 million square miles — more than 20% of the Earth's total land surface, according to the World Economic Forum.
Of course, locusts were also sent by God upon Egypt as a form of judgment for enslaving the people of Israel as recounted in Exodus 10. The prophet Joel spoke of a locust invasion that wiped out Israel’s crops around 845 B.C. as well as a future invasion, which is more fully described in Chapter 9 of the book of Revelation.
But should people really be eating these bugs?
Tamir said locusts are actually the most widely eaten insect in the world, consumed by more than 2 billion people across Asia, Africa and Central America.
And, according to Tamir, it won’t stop with locusts: major companies have “raised hundreds of millions of dollars and are now developing and producing a variety of insects such as crickets, mealworms and flies to feed animals and humans,” he added.
For more info on Biblical Protein, visit their website here.