So, I and my business are officially engaged in a new year. In the past three weeks, I've been introduced to several new and inspiring local products, ranging from an organic, raw cat food to superlative soaps. And, although all the products were interesting, the one that caught my attention was a healthy, high protein confection, which contains cricket flour as its protein source.
Yes, indeed, 2016 may be the year of the monkey, astrologically, but in the culinary world it's the year of the bug, according to Forbes magazine! But, eating bugs is not really a new idea. In fact, the Bible mentions entomophagy,( the human consumption of insects as food), as do other documents from Ancient Greece and Rome. Many countries around the world actually still include insects in their daily diet. Bugs just haven't seem to have caught on here in the US, until perhaps now?
Although I started out skeptical that bugs would ever be the next big thing, after a bit of research, I found out that there are about 2,000 species of bugs are edible, and an estimated 2 billion people eat them on a regular basis. Only in Western countries, does the "gross" factor seem to still dominate. And as it turns out bugs are actually good for us. And the planet. Here's more of what I found out:
- Crickets contain protein levels that are comparable to beef but with a much smaller ecological footprint. Crickets also require far fewer resources to raise.
- Additionally, they are twice as efficient as chickens at converting feed to meat, and 12 times more efficient than cattle.
- Cricket's water and land requirements are a mere fraction of those required for cows. They also produce 100 times less greenhouse gases and have high levels of calcium and iron.
So, there's really no disputing that crickets are nutritionally good for us and our planet. And although those facts still may not convince you to start crunching on crickets, those nutritional facts have been enough to start the rest of the world in recognizing crickets and other insects as a viable food source in developing countries. In fact, the United Nations released a statement in May 2013 urging the world to focus on eating insects as a way to combat global hunger and boost health worldwide by reducing malnutrition and even air pollution.
And more importantly, all that evidence has peaked my interest in a whole new facet of the culinary world. Those cricket confections got me excited to learn about new things and to look at things a bit differently! And that is why I do what I do. To keep learning, to keep seeing the world in a whole new way and to not miss what the present moment has to offer me. Yesterday, it offered me new friends, new ways of looking at our soil and a whole new world of edible insects! Stay tuned to see if crickets actually catch on!