CBSN

Oh waiter, there's soup in my bowl of flies

Insects are rich in protein, minerals and vitamins -- just like meat. Two billion people around the world eat insects as a regular part of their diets and some Americans are starting to warm up to that idea.

To feed the demand for edible insects, small companies are selling products like cookies made with cricket flour and spicy worms.

Elliot Mermel opened up the first cricket farm in Los Angeles where he breeds crickets, freezes them and grinds them into flour for sale to restaurants and other businesses.

"Once the word got out about what we were doing here, our email boxes have been filling up," Mermel said.

Megan Miller is another "entopreneur," as they're called as part of the "ento" or edible insect industry. She founded Bitty, a company that sells cookies made with cricket flour.

Along with being a nutritional powerhouse, insects require less land, food and water than livestock, which can relieve some current and growing agricultural problems.

In 2013, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization released a report on the benefits of eating insects to reduce pollution and fight world hunger. The UN says the world population will grow to 8 billion by 2050 and food production will have to double to meet demand.

Although entopreneurs are abuzz about the prospects for edible insects, a recent report suggests it could be a tough sell for Westerners who are generally disgusted by bugs.

"Insects are viewed as what ruins food - a roach in your soup, a fly in your salad. That's the biggest obstacle - the ick factor," said Daniella Martin, the "Girl Meets Bug" blogger and author of "Edible: An Adventure into the World of Eating Insects and the Last Great Hope to Save the Planet."

But entomophagists -- people who eat bugs -- like blogger Scott Trimble don't see edible insects as a fad. He compares the trend to sushi, which Americans were also uneasy about eating at first.

"I think a lot of people don't realize that insects are very closely related to crustaceans," Trimble told CBS News. "A lot of insects taste like shrimp. A lot of other insects taste like lobster or crab."

Trimble believes that the American population will embrace edible insects once they get over the "ick"-factor. "We've got these cultural inhibitions we were raised with that bugs are dirty and gross," he said. "But they're not."