Crickets and beetles and larvae, oh my!
By Katie Czenczek, Staff Writer
In 2013, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations published Edible Insects: Future prospects for food and feed security, urging Western folk to adopt insects into their diets.
Insects, which may seem as if they have no nutritional value due to their tiny size, are actually excellent sources of protein, iron, and other healthy stuff. If health isn’t enough to sell you on bugs, they also “are reported to emit fewer greenhouse gases and less ammonia than cattle or pigs, and they require significantly less land and water than cattle rearing,” according to the FOA’s book.
Many cultures have been eating bugs for centuries, and still are. According to Edible Insects: Future prospects for food and feed security, “It is estimated that insect-eating is practiced regularly by at least two billion people worldwide.” The Western world has abandoned this tradition of eating bugs. With climate change snowballing and natural disasters occurring more frequently, making the switch from cattle, poultry, and pork to crickets and beetles may be the very thing to help not only the environment, but also the global hunger crisis. Although crickets and other insects have yet to be accepted in Canada as mainstream food items, there are a few companies selling crickets or products with cricket flour—and I don’t mean for your pet lizard. Companies such as Coast Cricket Protein, Entomo Farms, and Näak are at the forefront of bringing edible insects to Canadians’ doorsteps. Moreover, The Fair at the PNE sells cricket burgers and cricket poutine ready for consumption after riding the wooden roller coaster.
Most of these products can only be ordered online, but Coast Cricket Protein has a few protein bars and powders sold in stores around the Metro Vancouver area. I picked up a protein bar from Coast Cricket Protein in the flavour dark chocolate raisin, and I have to say, it was not as bad as I thought it would be. The protein bar, though no visible legs or other extremities are to be seen while eaten, was made up of cricket flour, sunflower seeds, and other gloriously healthy ingredients. It did not taste anything like how I would imagine anything that had bugs in it to taste, and had an almost smoky walnut flavor. I actually had more problems with the dark chocolate and raisin taste. I would be interested in trying the peanut butter protein bar for next time. I believe the smoky walnut flavour was definitely caused by the crickets, but the crunchiness was due to the sunflower seeds. When I took my first mouthful, all I could think about was how I was eating the little things that chirp all night. For a second I even thought that I heard them chirping from inside the bar. Once I got over that fear, it actually ended up being a pretty delicious snack that kept me full for a long time.
If you care about the environment, are passionate about health food, or just like to try any and all food products, crickets deliver a nutty and crunchy taste to fulfill your protein and iron requirements!