Future Food

Creepy crawlies – this newest future food has hit the ground hopping

By Max Thielmeyer 4 December 2017
Image: Dare To Eat
Summary

The ultra-sustainable food movement of the future

On the tail end of The Memo’s Future Food month, we’ve taken a look at one more trend that experts say is the sustainable food source of the future.

Though you might squirm at the thought now, we’ll all be eating bugs soon enough. They require much less water than cows or pigs to produce, but pack an impressive protein punch.

From protein powder to cocktail bitters, The Memo spoke to five companies with creepy crawly products already on the market.

Dare To Eat

Realizing the amazing potential of bugs “in terms of taste, nutrition and sustainability”, Danish founders Jessica Buhl-Nielsen, an entrepreneur, and Malena Sigurgeirsdóttir, an agriculturist, set out in 2016 to transform our food culture to become more sustainable.

They told The Memo that they “looked to introduce bugs to the Danes and other Westerners in an appetising manner,” and after having a look at the foods they’ve created, we’re ready for a formal introduction.

What is your best selling product?

Energi Bites with Chilli, Chocolate and Crickets. (35.00 Danish Kr)

“They’re made with organic juicy dates, roasted almonds, chocolate and a pinch of chilli. And of course most importantly 60 crickets, made to powder.”

What is your current favourite bug dish?

“Our current most mouth-watering bug dish is taco con escamoles: Mexican taco with ant larvae.”

Why did you choose these bugs?

“The bugs we use complement the other ingredients very well. Crickets add umami to the chilli and chocolate flavour, and buffalo larvae tastes very nutty so we mixed it with peanuts and sea salt.

We would love to also introduce more exotic types of insects, currently however the EU food regulations do not allow this.”

Bugsolutely

Bugsolutely was founded in 2016 by Massimo Reverberi, an Italian entrepreneur with a love for food and sustainability. Adapting his national cuisine to an up-and-coming bug food market, Bugsolutely specializes in cricket pasta.

What is your best selling product?

Bugsolutely Cricket Pasta. ($6 USD)

“Bugsolutely Cricket Pasta is something completely new: a sustainable superfood containing 20% cricket flour.”

What is your current favourite bug dish?

Bella Pupa

“It transforms silkworm into a nutritious snack food so delicious it will turn everything you have pictured about this concept on its head.”

Why did you decide to use crickets?

“They are the perfect future meat. If one day a lab will try to create the healthiest, most nutritious and sustainable meat, they will probably come out with a cricket. We only use farmed insects – as they are totally safe. Crickets are very similar to shrimps – there is no reason to eat shrimp, and find crickets disgusting. It is completely illogical. Cricket farming is also scaling up quickly.”

Critter Bitters

Co-Founders Lucy Knops and Julia Plevin are a Brooklyn, New York-based duo of designers who dived into the world of cricket-based foods in 2013, but went big after launching a successful Kickstarter campaign in late 2015.

They join a long tradition of adding a bug-based twist to alcohol. The duo’s Kickstarter page cites worms in Mexican mezcal, and ancient Chinese vodka infused with scorpions.

What is your best selling product?

Toasted Cricket Bitters ($30 USD)

“They’re made with toasted crickets, which add a sweet, nutty note to drinks.”

What is your current favourite bug dish?

“We love a mezcal old-fashioned made with pure cricket tincture ($30 USD) and eaten with chapulines.”

Why did you decide that bug foods were something you should pursue?

“The crickets chose us. We’re just helping bring about awareness and create behavior change on sustainable food issues.”

Why did you choose to use the bugs you use, instead of other bugs?

“At the time, crickets were the most readily available. They also worked well in bitters!”

Aketta

Aketta was founded after a group of business students entered a competition to address global food insecurity. The team came up with the idea to farm insects for protein, and Aketta was born.

Co-founders Shobhita Soor, Gabriel Mott, and Mohammed Ashour started the company in 2014, and they now boast an impressive range of products.

What is your best selling product?

Aketta Pure Cricket Protein Powder ($15 USD)

What is your current favourite bug dish?

“For co-founder Mohammed, it’s Crispy Aketta- Texas BBQ Flavor” ($3.99 USD)

Why did you decide that bug foods were something you should pursue?

“Our current systems for producing food, specifically protein, are so spectacularly inefficient and catastrophic to our climate, environment and biodiversity. We felt an urgent need to do something about this, and realised that the answer was not inventing something new, but rather, reverting back to one of the most ancient food traditions that our ancestors relied on to thrive: insects.”

Why did you choose bugs?

“Of the million identified species of insects globally, only about 1400 are edible. That’s less than 0.1%. We looked at these insects and screened our top insects based on over two dozen parameters, including taste, texture, nutrition, geographic spread, safety, etc, and ended up deciding to pursue crickets and palm weevil larvae.”

Eat Grub

Started by friends Shami Radia and Neil Whippey, Eat Grub wants to bring sustainable, nutritious, and tasty insect foods to the mainstream in the UK.

When Co-founder Neil was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease he discovered that insects are great for people with the condition and was hooked. Shami first tried roasted termites while working at a charity in Malawi, and the duo’s shared experience lead to the creation of Eat Grub in 2014.

What is your best selling product?

“Our Eat Grub natural energy bars made with cricket powder (£6.99 for four bars). We find this product is an easy first step for people who buy into the benefits of eating insects but aren’t quite ready to take eat a whole one. You get all of the nutritional and environmental benefits of insect eating without seeing them!”

What is your current favourite bug dish?

“Our favourite thing to cook and snack on is flavoured, crunchy roasted crickets. We’ve just released a new product range that offer consumers exactly that, available in three flavours; Smoky BBQ, Peri-Peri, and Sweet Chilli & Lime” (£3.99 each)

Why did you choose to use the bugs you use, instead of other bugs?

“We have four different kinds of insects we sell as ingredients (crickets, mealworms, buffalo worms and grasshoppers).

However, we mainly use crickets in our products as we find that, through market research, consumers are more willing to try crickets…it also helps that they have the highest protein content (up to 69%) and, in my opinion, are the tastiest!”


Read more: We made the food of the future: wormy flapjacks