or cricket powder as it is sometimes called, is made with 100%-whole crickets (usually the Acheta Domesticus species, in latin, or House Cricket in English) that are farmed for human consumption. Thailand is the largest producer of crickets, with a reported 20,000 cricket farms and a dozen of cricket flour producers. The eating of crickets and other edible insects (entomophagy) is also very popular in Thailand. Eating bugs is also widely accepted and practiced in many areas of Africa, South America and Australia. Approximately 2 billion people regularly eat insects worldwide.
In the western world entomophagy is a relatively new concept, however consumers and retailers are beginning to warm up to the idea of edible insects as a sustainable and nutritious alternative to conventionally farmed animal protein. Cricket flour has demonstrated its innovative potential in this developing market, as it has proven to be an effective way to include insects in food while avoiding the ‘yuck’ factor that some people have when eating whole insects. Cricket flour allows for edible insects to be developed into familiar foods like pasta and protein bars.
The potential of entomophagy is generating excitement in the food industry as a rising number of start-up businesses introduce edible insect products. A 2013 report from the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization noted that insects like crickets, mealworms, and grasshoppers are nutritional powerhouses; they are high in protein, healthy fats, essential amino acids, lysine, and tryptophan, which are scarce in cereal proteins.
The Thai cricket farms chosen by Bugsolutely do not use any chemicals or medications, and they feed their crickets a vegetarian diet consisting mostly of rice bran and brewing yeast. The flavor of the flour can be influenced by the crickets’ nourishment, so our crickets are fed a specific diet that has been selected to achieve the desired taste. Rice bran is the hard outer-layer of rice grains. It is often produced as a by-product during the production of refined grains. Rice bran is used as feed since it is rich in dietary fiber, essential fatty acids, and contains substantial quantities of starch, protein, and vitamins. Brewer’s yeast is an excellent source of high-quality protein, essential amino acids, selenium, potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and B vitamins.
After five weeks the crickets can be harvested. The crickets are first dried in hot ovens. Next, they are milled into a refined flour particle size with a standard color and taste. The flour is produced in a HACCP certified facility, and it is packaged in food grade aluminum bags with oxygen absorber for a longer preservation.
There are many reasons to include cricket flour in your diet. For starters, it tastes good! Cricket flour has a mild and nutty flavor that compliments both sweet and savory foods. Chefs have taken to using cricket flour because it has such a neutral taste that can enhance the flavor profile while also increasing the nutritional benefits of their food.
This brings us to another reason why cricket flour should be added it your diet; it’s an incredibly healthy and nutritious superfood. The health and fitness industries demonstrated great interest in the nutritional qualities of cricket flour, particularly as an excellent source of protein. Cricket flour is typically 60-70% protein by dry weight, compared to 29% for beef, or 31% for chicken. The benefits of eating more high protein foods include improved muscle mass, weight management, stabilized blood sugar levels, improved mood, healthy brain and heart function, and slower aging. Cricket flour is particularly high in vitamins and minerals as well, including vitamin B12, vitamin B2, iron, and calcium.
Beyond the nutritional benefits of edible insects, cricket flour is a sustainable alternative to traditional forms of animal protein. Insects can be farmed on far less land, they emit fewer greenhouse gases than traditional livestock, and they use less feed and water than traditional livestock. It is estimated that crickets are 20 times more efficient at converting resources into protein than cattle. As the world’s population grows to an estimated 10 billion by 2050, cricket flour is a sustainable solution for meeting our future needs and improving food security.
Bugsolutely is a wholesaler of cricket flour since 2016 and serves start ups in North America, Australia and UK, while waiting for the European Union to approve the house cricket before the end of 2019. Bugsolutely also produces Cricket Pasta, the first pasta with 20% cricket flour.