Have you got the creeps?
December 6, 2016
With some food sources in short supply and others thought to be unsustainable, it is only right that scientists and farmers look for new sources of protein. But insects? Really? Do we have to?
The general aversion in the west to eating insects has probably not been helped by “I’m a celebrity get me out of here!” where contestants are encouraged to stuff live maggots and all kinds of creepy crawlies down their throats. It looks painful, but there are apparently over 1900 known species of insects (or anthropods) that are edible to humans – and they don’t have to be served whole. They are not only good for us, but also environmentally friendly as insect farming is undemanding of water, nutrients and raw materials.
According to Denmark-born Christine Spliid, founder of cricket flour energy bar Crobar, we still need a lot of education to change our perceptions, but there is a noticeable shift underway.
In the Netherlands people are eating whole insects in burgers, but the more digestible route is being served up in the form of cricket flour.
Spliid imports her flour from an organic cricket farm in Canada which is also certified gluten-free. “Cricket flour is easier to sell than the whole insect, and you can use cricket flour for anything!” she say. Perhaps surprisingly, health shops are not the ones to put her Crobar on their shelves, but rather sports shops and quirky independent cafes.
In the general crusade against global famine there are a host of new protein products coming on line that do not involve meat. Dutch company Kreca runs a pioneering insect farm run by people who ‘like grubs as grub’ and has been doing so for 35 years.
Originally supplying feed for animals, the company has been selling products for human consumption since 2007.
To my mind, Jimini’s wins top prize for insect-eating, quite simply because it sounds like fun! Offering a huge range of snacks, Jimini’s says people are enjoying crispy grasshoppers, crickets and mealworms as a nutritional aperitif.
Their packaging insists: “Insects have the power to change our diet!” and its range of edible insects includes naturally flavoured crickets, grasshoppers and mealworms, sold as appetisers, organic dried fruit and almond bars made using cricket flour and agave syrup, all of which are low in fat and sugar. Each insect naturally contains high levels of protein as well as omegas 3 and 6.
Say Bastien and Clément who crafted the flavour combinations for Jimini’s: “Our products tick all the boxes; they are healthy, tasty and a bit nuts!”
Have you got the bug? Would you put insect products onboard?!