Edible Insects – the Latest Health Food…

Using insects as a sustainable source of high-quality protein is an increasingly hot topic and with an astonishing number of new businesses starting to exploit this emerging market, it’s something I’ve been wanting to explore (even more so since getting my hands on this old South African cook book with bug recipes galore). 

So, when the lovely folks at Nutribug sent me some more information, along with a sample of their ‘cricket pasta’, it was rather timely. Sadly on receiving the packet and reading the allergy advice I discovered that people with a shellfish allergy may also have a reaction to crickets so I’m not going to be able to try this but I do have two willing volunteers who will be cooking with it for me so I can still report back. 

In the meantime, you might well be interested in these facts on this subject below….. 

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You probably think the only people who eat insects are celebrities during a bushtucker trial – but that’s not the case. Go to Thailand and you’ll discover a buffet of edible insects available everywhere, and surprisingly they have amazing nutritional profiles.

Did you know that over 100 international start-ups have entered the edible insect market in 2015 alone? The European Parliament has passed a new regulation which greenlights edible insects, and sustainable food experts say they are the protein of the future.

Still, regardless of how healthy these insects are, us Westerners are reluctant to give it a go. It will be a long time before we’re seeing crickets and mealworms served up in restaurants. However, one British company has a mission to change people’s perceptions of eating bugs, one insect at a time.

Introducing Nutribug and its Pro Pasta, made with 100% organic ingredients including crickets – but in the form of flour. High protein cricket powder is the world’s next big superfood, and this is the world’s first pasta to include it. Cricket pasta is packed full of protein and other essential vitamins and minerals including iron, calcium, omega-3 and B12. This food has all the nutrients any health-conscious person would want, without having to chew an insect.

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Let’s compare this pasta to some other high protein foods. Pro Pasta is made with just 10% cricket powder, and delivers 14g of protein per 100g. To put that into perspective, that’s more protein than eggs, which delivers 13g of protein per 100g. Edible insects should surely be added to the menu for anyone who wants a protein rich diet. Did we mention it’s also gluten free?!

However, there’s another good reason why we should be open to including insects in our diet – sustainability. The crickets used in the pasta are farmed in Thailand and compared to other animals bred for meat, they boast high levels of sustainability. For example crickets have a short ‘rearing’ period and require 1,000 times less food and water than cows.

Healthy, sustainable and interesting – we can see why edible insects are the latest superfood and about to be the next health craze. Jessica Lee Rose, the woman behind the cricket pasta says: “Westerns may regularly eat hamburgers, hot dogs and other heavily processed junk foods without questioning what is in them, yet they reel in disgust about the idea of eating healthy insects. We believe our cricket pasta will help overcome this problem and bring this new super food to the mainstream market, when the insect is no longer visible, the perception of the product changes”.

Thanks to Nutribug for this article, it’s a fascinating topic

@nutribug

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