A Word Cloud For Insects as Food (Entomophagy)

For a little while, I was collecting articles about Insects as Food. I thought it would be fun to feed them into a word cloud generator, so I piled the articles into a giant text file, made some small adjustments and pasted the text into one of the free on-line cloud generators.   Initially, I used WordItOut because it was user friendly and allowed a good amount of creative control. For the 2018 update, I switched to Tableau Public after learning from Clearly and Simply how to make Word Clouds in Tableau.

The word cloud shown below was built using text from 33 articles (over 27,000 words) from a variety of mass-media sources like magazine articles, newspaper articles, blog posts at media websites, and trade publications.  They aren’t a random sample of news coverage and are probably somewhat cricket heavy. Before submitting the text, I edited the source material to remove plurals from certain top-ranked words (e.g., crickets -> cricket, insects -> insect, etc.) and also removed many common words (the, and, him, her, etc.).

Cricket is the dominant word since they are the “it insect” of the moment in the U.S. and Canada — they are fairly easy to raise and easy to incorporate into processed foods. The next tier of words includes protein (the most prominent nutritional feature of insects), farm (when a new farm opens, it gets press, especially in farming areas like Iowa or California Central Valley), and flour (converting dried insects into flour is a popular way to bring them to our plates). Interestingly, the word sustainable is in one of the lower tiers, even though it is a major emphasis of insect promoters. Climate and greenhouse (as in climate change and greenhouse gases) don’t make an appearance at all on this word cloud.

If you’re not a fan of word clouds (which can be hard to look at because of their unfocused nature), here’s a bar chart made from the same data:

Updated 2/27/18:  Moved word cloud to Tableau Public.  Thanks to Clearly and Simply for the tutorial on Word Clouds in Tableau. Added bar chart.


  • “Linger Puts Crickets on the Menu” in 5280: The Denver Magazine (2/10/16)
  • “Made in the Valley: Bassetts Cricket Ranch” in ABC 30 (2/22/16)
  • “Cricket pie, mealworm protein balls on the menu at Toronto market” in CBC (1/22/16)
  • “New purveyor Jiminy Co. hopes to convince Charlestonians that crickets are delicious” in Charleston City Paper (3/30/16)
  • “Cricket farmer hopes business will start hopping” in CTV News (2/22/16)
  • “Edible Insect Processor Bugsolutely Launches Cricket Pasta ” in Daily Meal (1/21/16)
  • “Meet Iowa’s first edible-cricket farmer” in Des Moines Register (7/20/16)
  • “Bugs are recipe for success for French pasta maker” in Dunya News (2/23/16)
  • “What Will It Take for Americans to Eat Insects?” in Eater (12/17/15)
  • “This Desktop Edible Insect Hive Grows Your Daily Protein At Home” in Fast Co.Exist (11/10/15)
  • “Not Ready To Eat Crickets? Try Feeding Them To Your Dog” in Fast Co.Exist (11/25/15)
  • “As Edible Insects Become More Popular, Thailand’s Insect Farming Community Is Growing” in Fast Co.Exist (9/26/14)
  • “Eating Bugs and the Future of Nutrition” in Food and Nutrition (8/8/16)
  • “Ealing company launches pioneering protein product ‘cricket flour'” in Get West London (02/02/2016)
  • “Let’s admit it: Crickets are just another food fad” in Grist (07/01/2016)
  • “In the Apocalyptic Future, We’ll All Be Eating Bugs” in Grub Street (New York Magazine) (07/27/16)
  • “Eating bugs may be a giant leap for mankind” in Heraldscot Land Paper (02/21/16)
  • “Korea seeks to foster insect industry” in Korea Herald (04/04/16)
  • “Edible cricket farm coming soon to Van Nuys ” in LA Times Daily Dish (05/04/16)
  • “Eating bugs: ‘Chirps’ cricket chips and cookies ” in LA Times Daily Dish (04/28/14)
  • “Whole Foods Markets to supply edible insects” in Meat Info (11/25/15)
  • “Silicon Valley’s power brain food: crickets” in Mercury News (08/13/16)
  • “Grub: Eating bugs to save the planet.” in New Yorker (08/15/11)
  • “Bugs: Fear Factor Fodder or Food of the Future?” in Now Toronto (02/17/16)
  • “Portlanders turn up their noses at edible crickets” in Portland Business Journal (12/28/15)
  • “I don’t like eating crickets. Oh no. I love it.” in Stuff NZ (11/01/15)
  • “A different crunch: Benton County couple launches state’s first cricket farm” in The Gazette (07/25/16)
  • “Let them eat bugs: US startup sees future of sustainable food in creepy crawlies” in The Guardian (08/06/16)
  • “KMS teacher engages students with new flavors” in The News Tribune (02/26/16)
  • “Edible bugs on the menu at Toronto market ” in Toronto Sun (01/20/16)
  • “Welcome to the bug farm: Edible cricket rearing goes industrial in California” in Tree Hugger (02/26/15)
  • “From ‘Ick’ to Making Business History: Iowa Cricket Farmer” in Vinton Iowa Paper (07/06/16)

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