Insects: The future of food?
Would you swap a protein shake for a cockroach? A chicken leg for crickets? It may seem unsavoury but creepy crawlies are apparently what we’re all going to be eating in the future.
Is it just another health fad? We put our questions to top nutritionist Jenna Hope…
Do cockroaches have more nutritional value that a protein shake?
This really depends on the type of protein and the species of cockroach you are consuming. German cockroaches contain about 78g of protein per 100g (dry weight). Whey and Soy contain around 80g and hemp and pea around 60g. However, these values will vary between brands. What is important here is that whilst cockroaches are clearly rich in protein they sit amongst other protein sources and I wouldn’t consider them better than any others.
Is it true that insects will be the future of our food?
It appears that more and more people are jumping on the insect band wagon. There are plenty of brands arising which are selling insects as a protein source. Whilst they are rich in protein and nutrients, there is no research to suggest that they contain more protein than meat and fish or are any better for us. However, there is research to suggest that insects are much more sustainable for the environment. For now though, it could be the next FAD. This is just something we will have to wait and see.
What are the best insects to eat and why?
Research has shown that crickets are the most popular insects. Cricket flour contains around 68g or protein per 100g compared to whey which contains around 80g. Crickets are a great source of B12 which is essential for energy metabolism. It’s also high in iron and calcium which are required for energy and bone health. However, equally you can snack on whole grasshoppers, mealworms and crickets which are also rich in protein.
Where can we eat insect food in London?
Last year Carousel London opened their first pop-up insect bar in Marylebone. Archipelago restaurant offers up pan-fried crickets as a starter with spinach and quinoa!
How can we make insect food at home?
You can now buy insect flours online which you can use in baking and as a replacement to protein powders. Planet organic now also sell dried insects which you can snack on. I think it will take a while for people to get their head around munching through a bag of mealworms or grasshoppers as a snack but they seem to be appearing on the shelves at a rapid rate.
There are also a variety of brands now including Eat Grub, Crobar and Jungle Bar which are in essence a replacement for cereal or protein bars and they’re made from these insect flours.