We have had many people who normally follow a vegetarian diet approach us and say that they are very excited about the concept of cricket flour, and are happy to eat it.
While crickets are animals, they are deemed to be much further down the food chain than chickens, pigs, cows and so on. Added to that, studies have shown that insects apparently do not feel pain in the same way as mammals do due to different neurological structures.
As a result, people who stay away from meat for ethical reasons often do not have a problem eating crickets. Given that it can be difficult to get enough protein for some vegetarians, who make up about 12% of the UK population, cricket flour provides a great alternative to traditional meat.
The sustainability angle is extremely powerful. Livestock production is taking its toll on our planet, and crickets emit around 80 times less carbon dioxide than cattle. In addition, farming crickets uses about 10 times less space and significantly less water than cattle farming. Since you eat the whole cricket, which is 80% digestible, compared to 40% of a cow, there is also a big reduction in food waste – a cause célèbre for UK consumers, that the leading supermarkets are working to tackle.
For wholesalers and their customers, carrying insect-based products such as Crobar, which comes in four flavours, and which won first prize in the World Food Innovation Awards’ Best New Food Concept category earlier this year, gives you the chance to be part of the solution, and to generate sales on products which tap into the blossoming food on-the-go trend.
Yes, the biggest challenge is to overcome negative perceptions. Yet crickets are genetically very similar to prawns and shrimps, which we have been eating for decades, so this thought should take some of the ‘ick’ factor away.
Christine Spliid is the founder of Crobar