Sat, Nov-17-18, 10:09
Edible insects hit UK supermarkets
From The Telegraph
17 November, 2018
Edible insects hit UK supermarkets as Sainsbury's stocks bug grub
Insects are going to be on the menu as Sainsbury’s becomes the first UK supermarket to stock edible bugs.
This week the retailer is exclusively launching Eat Grub’s Smoky BBQ Crunchy Roasted Crickets in 250 stores across the country.
The crunchy snacks are meant to be eaten alone as a snack or used to garnish dishes such as tacos, noodles or salads.
Rachel Eyre, Head of Future Brands at Sainsbury's, said: “Insect snacks should no longer be seen as a gimmick or something for a dare, and it’s clear that consumers are increasingly keen to explore this new sustainable protein source. We’re always looking to provide our customers with new and exciting products, and with the growing interest in edible insects we’re excited to be the first UK supermarket to make these products easily accessible for shoppers across the country.”
The online range from Eat Grub includes whole insects, and encourages consumers to stir-fry grasshoppers and make pizza dough out of crickets, because they are a healthier and more sustainable protein source than meat or tofu.
Suggested recipes for the ready-to-cook bugs include red curry cricket rice cakes, which are similar to fish cakes, buffalo worm macaroni cheese and grilled tempura grasshoppers.
Eat Grub, a start-up founded in 2014 by friends Shami Radia and Neil Whippey, will be the first edible insect company to have its products featured on a major supermarket’s shelf.
Radia first tasted insects on a trip to Malawi, when he ate termites with chilli and lime. Since then, the friends have been working with restaurants including Wahaca to make insects mainstream.
He said his favourite insect is a cricket, and that they are “delicious, tasting like a nutty prawn.”
Their bugs, farmed in Holland, need a fraction of land, feed and water to be farmed, with the founders calling them “a very attractive alternative source of protein.”
Insect farming produces one hundredth of the emissions of its beef cattle or pig equivalent, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.
While they are not vegetarian or vegan, they remain an alternative protein source for those who want to cut down on meat for environmental reasons.
Insects have long been a staple part of diets in part of Asia and Africa, and now it appears that the Western world is going to become less squeamish about snacking on worms.
By 2024, the North American edible insects market will exceed £62m, which is a 43 per cent rise from today.
The founders said: “They are the food of the future! As the population continues to grow at the current rate and the level of meat consumption stays so high, we need an alternative and more sustainable source of protein.
“All insects have different nutritional profiles, crickets can contain 69% protein and have all nine essential amino acids. They are high in fibre and vitamin B12, as well as being a great source of iron, calcium and Omega 3 and 6.”
Thomasina Miers, the founder of Mexican restaurant chain Wahaca said that eating bugs is becoming more popular - and has put insects and grubs on the menu.
She said that it is "amazing" that Sainsbury's is stocking the bugs for the first time, adding that her chefs put crickets in guacamole and tacos for a "nutty" flavour.
Mrs Miers explained: “We have made a Mexican brownie with dark chocolate and cricket flour which we served with a salted caramel ice-cream which was extremely popular. We also had a cricket and dried chile salsa which we served with our queso fundido which was delicious and inspired by some dishes we tried in Oaxaca. Worm salt is also a delicious salt to go with mezcal which we have used in our mezcal bars.
"Eating insects is normal in most parts of the world – indeed, if you include prawns, mussels, cockles, crab etc., species which I think of as insects of the sea, then we in the West are pretty used to it too. Insects are great sources of protein and a far more sustainable and lower carbon alternative than meat, especially red meat like beef.”