Ever have a hard time finding an affordable, healthy and environmentally sustainable protein source? Soy is a mixed bag, beef and fish can be unsustainable and expensive, and high quality chicken can get monotonous (and apparently pricey. I saw a chicken that was selling for the same price per pound as duck the other day. What?!)
Not to mention that by the year 2050, there will be an extra 2 billion people on the planet, and not enough livestock and produce to keep up with the demand. So what other option is there?
Enter the humble cricket.
Before you get upset at the thought of eating your old pal Jiminy, be aware that people have been eating crickets around the world for thousands of years. Sure, itís a bit less common to chomp on little insect legs here in the US. Some might find the idea unpalatable, or even disgusting, but how about if the insects were roasted, ground into a flour, and blended with some tasty cocoa? Youíre in for a sweet, nutty treat!
The world is entering a food shortage crisis, and protein sources are only going to become more expensive and difficult to attain. The solution may be eating insects — crickets being the easiest to stomach for most Americans. A few start-up companies,† including Exo, Bitty Foods, and Chapul, use cricket flour exclusively in their protein-packed products, from flour-blends to cookies.
Take note, cricket flour is an especially excellent option for the Paleo and gluten-free eaters out there. Cricket flour is†full of protein, healthy fats, and nutrients like iron and magnesium. Its protein content rivals beef cup-for-cup (70 grams per cup), and crickets donít produce nearly as much methane as a comparative beef farm.
Crickets take up less land and water resources than soy and are more productive with their feed than cattle. According to Megan Miller, founder of Bitty Foods, if crickets are fed 10 pounds of food, they produce 1 pound of waste and 9 pounds of protein. On the other hand, the same quantity of cattle feed would result in only 1 pound of beef, and 9 pounds of waste product.
Each female cricket also has a life span of 6 weeks, and produces 15,000 eggs during that time, so the population grows rapidly. In terms of space, waste, water and nutritional punch, cricket farming is a much more sustainable operation. Plus, they actually have a delicious nutty flavor! Hopefully, being in the form of a flour will encourage more people to include healthy and sustainable crickets in their diets.
Watch Miller speak at TedX about the sustainability of cricket flour and decide: Are you ready to give this nutty and delicious flour a try?