Haven’t you heard? Crickets, worms and grasshoppers are very much in-vogue.
No, this isn’t a bushtucker trial, or a drunken dare, this really is the future. Read on to find out more…
Why Crickets Are a Future Protein Source
The world’s population is steadily rising, and is due to hit 7.5 billion this year, with estimates suggesting we’ll have 9 billion mouths to feed by 2050.
Unless we all stick to salads, the global production of meat will need to double in that time to feed our growing population. Feed and crop production will also have to increase in kind to support livestock and our own appetites, inevitably taking up more land space and water — precious and dwindling commodities required for cattle.
What’s the Beef With Beef?
From an environmental standpoint, insects require relatively little feed to produce edible meat. Crickets, for instance, are 12 times more efficient than cattle in converting feed to edible meat, at least four times more efficient than pigs, and twice as efficient as chickens, according to the FAO. And unlike other farmed animals, crickets are raised in compact, multi-story farms with comparatively little water, and are “slaughtered” humanely through a freezing process.
Restaurants are slowly adopting this unusual source of protein, with an expanding range of restaurants offering insect infused dishes. It’s true that supermarkets are way behind, with the convenience industry yet to pick up on the benefit of bugs. So far, edible insects have only caught on among a small (but growing) number of startups, one of which is…
This is where EatGrub excels.
Grub began (as many good ideas do) with a right old knees up. Co-founder Neil was out celebrating his 30th birthday when the great idea struck him, and luckily for us it stuck!
Gathering essential insight, recipes and more, the co-founder spent six months of travelling to remote places in search of traditional insect cuisine. The result: EatGrub. Their online store offers cricket protein bars, (which we tried, read on to see what we thought!). As well as, dried insects and their wonderful cookbook.
The Surprising Benefits For Crohn’s Disease Sufferers
Co-Founder Neil’s interest in exploring new foods was kindled at the tender age of 19 when he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. This debilitating bowel condition which calls for a selective, enriched diet. Edible insects are potentially brilliant news for sufferers, thanks to the abundance of nutrients they contain, coupled with their low levels of complex fats. Due to Western stigma, Neil went 11 years without knowing that such a great food was missing from his diet!
In his marketing work with international charities, the other half of EatGrub Shami travels to many countries around the world. One such project visit took him Malawi, East Africa, where he saw a whole community’s excitement at roasting and eating the flying termites that abound at the beginning of the rainy season. He saw that the presence of such a small creature brought a great collective joy, and he experienced the great taste of these little wonders. These two things were enough to convince him that selling edible insects in the UK was a project worth trying.
But, What Do They Taste Like?
A truly sustainable food source, this is one protein bar you can feel good about eating.
Increased demand for edible insects may allow more funds and resources to be devoted towards innovation, which could further reduce costs and provide the industry with a stronger foothold in the food market. Given that labor and feed currently drive insect farming costs (which are passed on to manufacturers and consumers), the industry could use improved, cheaper feed and a more mechanized process for feeding, watering, and harvesting the crickets, Dossey says, adding that his company is actively researching these areas.
Of course, people staunchly against the idea of eating any insect don’t have to try it, Lesnik says. But she would ask them one favor: “If they would so kindly let their children make their own decisions about it, because they’re the ones who will be running out of food and water. It’s too late for us but let them grow up in a world where this is available.”
Would you try cricket protein?