When you look at the benefits, it is not hard to see why 2bn people across the globe eat insects.
As well as being tasty, insects are nutritious and sustainable. High in protein, iron and calcium, and containing essential amino acids like Omega 3 and 6, insects have been hailed as the food of the future, as the world tries to find more sustainable sources of protein that can feed an increasing population.
At Grub, we have made it our mission to convince consumers that insects should be enjoyed for the tasty, nutritious and sustainable food source they are, and wholesalers have a role to play in this.
After starting with sell-out pop-up restaurants, we now develop insect-based products that are accessible to the UK public. Our Eat Grub bars, made with cricket powder (roasted, ground-up crickets), come in Cranberry and Orange, and Coconut and Cacao flavours.
They are a simple way to introduce Brits to the benefits of eating insects, without their seeing the actual insects. It is also a great way to get insect-based products into food stores and coffee shops.
Changing behaviour is not an easy task, and one that will not happen overnight, but we have already seen some real progress in the acceptance of insects as food.
Having an aversion to or fear of eating insects is learned behaviour – we are not born with it. TV programmes with ‘bushtucker trials’ do not exactly help.
But people easily adapt, and at Grub, we love using the example of sushi. Fifteen years ago, the thought of eating raw fish was seen as unacceptable to many and, at best, a gimmick to the rest. Now look: it is a lunch menu staple, including for many wholesalers’ customers. There is absolutely no reason why insects cannot follow the same journey.
I predict that 2017 will be the year in which retailers, wholesalers and the general public start embracing insects for the superfood they are.
Shami Radia is the co-founder of Grub