CRICKET BREAD – COMING TO A GROCERY NEAR YOU?
By Chris Williams on December 17, 2017.
Are we behind the times here in the U.S.? In European countries, residents are supposedly embracing the idea of including insects as part of their diet. You can even purchase your bug entrée from your local supermarket.
In November, Finland joined Britain, the Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, and Belgium in allowing insects to be marketed as food. Finnish bakery firm Fazer just launched Sirkkaleipa (“Cricket Bread” in Finnish), a high-protein bread made from wheat flour, seeds, and dried crickets. The bread will initially be sold in 11 Fazer stores in Helsinki but is to be offered in all 47 stores by next year.
One loaf contains about 70 dried crickets that are ground into a powder before being mixed with flour, seeds, and other ingredients. While it sounds ominous, the crickets actually make up only about 3% of the bread’s weight. “I don’t taste the difference…it tastes like bread,” said Helsinki student, Sara Koivisto.
INSECT FARMING DOESN’T TAKE MUCH SPACE
We in America never seem to be able to wrap our heads around the fact that insects are just protein like any other animal that we eat. Insects are a lot easier to rear than cows, pigs, or chickens. It doesn’t take much land, or water, or food to raise them. They’re ready for market a lot sooner than larger animals. Insect farming might even save parts of the world from starvation some day.
Probably the biggest objection to having insects in our food is that there are insects in our food! Rest assured that insects used in food are reared solely for that purpose under the same strict controls as for any other food destined for human consumption. It’s true though that the idea of eating insects is harder to stomach when you can actually see the insects, or parts of them, in the food product, knowing that the satisfying crunch is not from walnuts, but is instead dried crickets.
INSECT FLOUR IS GLUTEN-FREE!
To date in the U.S., insect-based foods have been offered in small quantities to specialty niche markets such as health food stores. Very slowly, the interest in insects as food is growing. One group that seems to be contemplating bug bread are those following a gluten-free diet.
In developed countries, eating insects is still seen as a novelty, but elsewhere in the world, incorporating insect protein is commonplace. It is estimated that more than 2 billion people worldwide utilize insects for food. Besides protein, insects are sources of good fatty acids, calcium, iron, and vitamin B12. Right now, insect bread is pricier than your average loaf but imagine what a difference affordable insect protein could make in the diets of those who are going hungry, even here in the good ol’ U.S. of A.
For more on “entomophagy” (eating insects), see: