Cricket pasta, ready-to-eat grasshoppers, and fried mealworms are all part of the edible insect food revolution sweeping the country and they could soon be part of everyday meals in diners across the nation.
More chefs worldwide are turning to entomophagy, the practice of eating insects, to create unique tasty dishes, serve healthy food and help save the planet all at the same time.
This year, Detroit will host Eating Insects 2016, a three-day event dedicated to the emerging edible insect industry.
They’ll be serving up edible insect-based treats in the form of cricket pasta and bug snacks, Nick Rousseau, founder of Woven, a network connecting scientists and culinary entrepreneurs, told the Nottingham Post.
“You’ve got the novelty side to it where the insect is a snack itself but we’re moving now into seeing bars with a protein component, which is made up of insects. We’re also moving into an area where more mainstream products such as pasta and pizza dough is being made with insects too.”
It’s much more efficient to farm insects than large mammals like cows or chickens on a large scale without damaging the environment; they reproduce quickly and are a great source of vitamins and proteins.
As the world faces the very real threat of running out of fresh drinking water in the next 30 years, it’s imperative that mankind find alternative sources of food and phase out the Western world’s meat-heavy diet.
It’s not only the environment that’s driving the edible insect revolution, however. One of the main dishes presented at Eating Insects 2016 will be cricket pasta made by Bugsolutely, with 20 percent cricket flour and its creators say its very tasty.
The flour, made by roasting and grinding insects, can be added to a host of dishes and gives chefs a unique ingredient for their culinary creations, Josh Bentham, co-founder of European edible insect wholesaler Mophagy, told Big Hospitality.
“The powder is a unique flavor that can’t be likened to anything. It has a rich nutty taste, which really adds something to the flavor of dishes, but there’s also the benefit of knowing that you’ve added a product that is zero sugar, has good fats and with strong protein levels and micro-nutrients, so it’s adding a health base to that dish that has been created.”
More than 200 edible insect company startups entered the market last year, as entrepreneurs are trying to break down the cultural barrier to eating insects. The practice is already widespread in Southeast Asia where vendors hawk tasty insect treats in outdoor markets.
The U.N. has endorsed the practice of switching to an insect-based diet noting that some 2 billion people already consider it part of their daily diet staple, according to CNN.
“Customers often like to eat fried insects while drinking beer, as a healthy and exotic replacement for popcorn or peanuts.”
Edible insect fairs are setting up shop around the world including Seeds&Chips in Italy where hundreds of culinary startup companies will feature a variety of innovative food concepts. The Future Food-Tech summit in New York will bring together investors, culinary startups and ingredient manufacturers to discuss the global food challenge.
With the world population expected to reach some 8 billion people by 2024, the push is on to create sustainable food that won’t damage the environment.
What do you think? Would you eat some cricket pasta or fried grasshoppers as part of the edible insect revolution?
[Photo Illustration by Sean Gallup/Getty Images]