Last week I stumbled across an article on Adelaide Now about eating bugs. At first I was saying “Ewww gross”, but then it got me thinking…
Hang on a minute!! Now you’ve just read the previous sentence probably thing – did she just say eat bugs? Yes, yes I did! Beetles, bugs, creepy crawlies – they a natural source of protein and packed full of minerals and nutrients apparently! While in Australia we’re chowing down on beef, chicken, seafood, lamb and all sorts of animal proteins, the thought of eating a bug, dried cricket or something resembling an Asian street food stall sends most of us packing!
However, agriculture and food sustainability is on the rise, as is the interest in sourcing other types of foods. We only have too look at today’s weather patterns, talk of El Nino, water shortages and storms and tropical cyclones knocking out banana crops in the past and it reveals to truth about agriculture, food shortages and usage into the future.
As an example, from the article,
Is fresh fish still a regular part of your menu?
“We’ve seen the prices of fish go up enormously already,” Dr Wilkinson [University of Adelaide’s Associate Professor Kerry Wilkinson] says. “Soon it will be the same for other livestock, such as beef cattle, pork and lamb.”
In large part, that’s because of pressure on the supply of grain-based feed stocks, grains which would better serve us as flour for bread.
“When we think of food security, there’s one idea everyone focuses on: That there’s not enough food. Right?” asks Dr Umberger. “Wrong. There’s lots of research to show that there is enough food. It’s just getting it where it’s needed that’s the issue. Through restricting trade, research and alternatives, we’re creating insecurity.”
Back onto the bugs, Dr Wilkinson says we have to try to overcome barriers to insect consumption. Just check out this cool infographic to explain just how much protein makes up a grasshopper:
However, a dried cricket is much harder to stomach (pardon the pun) than some cricket flour for example. Once processed bugs can form flour, pellets and more – you can add them to breads, smoothies, oats and more!
When doing some research about where to buy these bug products, I came across Bugy Bro’s, an Australian manufacturer of cricket flour. I interviewed Patrick, owner of Bugsy Bro’s about his business and exciting product, Cricket Flour:
How did Bugsy Bro’s start?
The idea actually started 2-3 years ago from watching a documentary about edible insects and how they can be the future food.
However I wasn’t quite ready yet and I dont think Australians either. Earlier this year I read an article that edible insects are getting really popular in the US and Europe. I researched around Australia and couldn’t find anyone else, so I decided to jump on board. And the timing was good as well, because I’ve been wanting to get into business this time around.
(And who is Bugsy Bro’s)?
Bugsy Bros is me, Patrick Sarta, unfortunately I don’t have a brother! It was just one of the various name I’ve been thinking and my wife thinks it’s good. So I went with that.
How far away are your crispy fried crickets?
I should have the product around mid- October, so in the next two weeks.
And are you releasing any other products?
Other than the cricket powder and crispy baked cricket (it’s actually baked, so no deep fried, a bit healthier!), at the moment I also have:
1. Cricket protein ball mix.
2. Cricket choc chip cookies.
Both are only sold in the market at the moment, not online. I am also of thinking getting some other products as well, although I can’t tell you what it is yet!
How have you found the general public’s reaction to your cricket flour?
Public reaction have been very positive. Many people have actually heard about the benefit of edible insects, and wanted to try it, although they’re a bit lost on how to use it (understandable).
There’s also people that can’t break that mental barrier yet, so getting them to opened up is a bit hard (by contrast, in the US, the “yuck” factor was 2-3 years ago, these days it’s all about breaking the broader market over there)
More media exposure is obviously needed before people get more excited about it, hopefully some celebrity chef (Paleo Pete hopefully!) start endorsing it.
What is surprising, is that almost all of people that own/work in the health industry did not know about it, I would’ve thought they’d be more up to date with what’s out there, but I supposed that’s the challenge for me as a business owner and I do accept that it won’t be easy converting Westerner to eat insects!
What is one easiest ways to add cricket flour to your diet?
The easiest way is to mix it in your juice, smoothies, or porridge. Unfortunately it doesn’t dissolve in water, so you can’t make protein shake with it.
*You can find more info and bug products at Edible Bugs Shop.
So would you eat bugs?