Crickets Are Chirping… in Your Plate!
Although little known in North America and Europe, entomophagy is a food tradition in parts of Asia, Africa and South America. Despite its somewhat bizarre name, entomophagy is simply the consumption of insects by humans. With more and more insect-based products coming to grocery store shelves, I’m going to take stock of the nutritional and environmental benefits of eating insects.
Insects are a source of good quality whole protein. They also contain good fats, comparable to what is found in fish. Insects also tend to be rich in fiber and minerals, including copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium and zinc, and some vitamins including B2, B5 and B7. It’s the only source of animal protein with so much fiber!
For example, in 2 tbsp. (12 g) of crickets powder, we can find 8 g of protein, 1 g of fiber and we cover all the vitamin B12 needs for the day!
Whole or powdered insects can be eaten by being adding into recipes. Some companies use cricket powder to make energy bars and even pasta… a few more details on the subject below.
Benefits for the environment?
The amount of food needed to feed an insect instead of an animal, in order to produce the same amount of food for humans, is 4 times smaller with an insect. The amount of water and the space necessary are also much smaller. Now this is getting interesting! Also, insects can feed on just about anything … in fact, they can eat by-products of agriculture and food waste.
In addition, there would be less waste in the consumption of insects. Indeed, for most insects, they can be eaten whole whereas for an animal, there is a certain percentage of waste.
Are there risks?
There is no reported case of food poisoning following the consumption of insects. Of course, good hygiene rules must be followed and insects that are consumed must come from reliable sources.
Be aware, if you have an allergy to shellfish, there is a possibility of an allergy to insects. The association is not yet well known, but it is better to be on the cautious side.
More and more companies are interested in products made of insects. Whether in Canada or in Europe, here are some interesting companies: Melio, Naak, Uka Protein, Micronutris, Insectes Comestibles, Chirps Chips, Crickstart …
I’ve had the chance to taste Naak bars, Melio pasta, President’s Choice crickets powder and Uka protein bars … Although the idea of eating insects does not necessarily appeal to everyone, these products can be an interesting way to add variety to your diet!
- Alexander, P. et al. (december 2017). Could consumption of insects, cultured meat or imitation meat reduce global agricultural land use? Elsevier 15;22-32. Retrieved from: www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211912417300056?via%3Dihub
- Halloran, A. & Vantomme, P. The contribution of insects to food security, livelihoods and the environment. Retrieved from: www.fao.org/docrep/018/i3264e/i3264e00.pdf