One of the most convincing reasons to eat cricket flour is from a health perspective. Cricket flour contains a whopping 65- 75% high quality protein. As cricket flour is an animal protein source, it contains all 9 essential amino acids, which are really important for immune strength and muscle development. Interestingly, we have had many people who normally follow a vegetarian or pescatarian diet, come up to us and say they are very excited about the concept and happy to eat cricket flour. So while crickets are technically animals, they are much further down the food chain than chickens, pigs and cows. Taking into account also the evidence that insects don’t feel pain the same way as mammals do due to different neurological structures, people who stay away from meat for ethical reasons often don’t have a problem eating crickets. Given it can be difficult to get enough protein for some vegetarians, cricket flour provides a great alternative to traditional meat. Crickets are also farmed without the use of antibiotics, hormones or pesticides, which greatly reduces the impact on the environment.
Aside from the protein, cricket flour is also high in Vitamin B12, which is important for healthy skin, hair and nails. Lack of Vitamin B12 can make you feel tired and sluggish, and is generally important for a healthy digestive system. Just 10 gram of cricket flour contains your daily dose of Vitamin B12. Cricket flour also contains half as much fat as beef, which is great for people who are watching their fat intake. Because you literally eat the whole animal and hence also it’s exoskeleton, the iron and magnesium levels are also very high, great for teeth and bone health.
Aside from the health benefits, the sustainability angle is extremely powerful. As mentioned earlier, current livestock production is taking its toll on our planet, and crickets emit 80 times less CO2 than cattle. That’s a massive difference, as cattle farming is the single worst contributor to global warming, worse than cars, industries etc. Crickets also use about 10 times less space and significantly less water than cattle, so are a lot more efficient at converting feed into food. Because you eat the whole cricket, which is 80% digestible compared to 40% of a cow, there is also a big reduction in food waste. All in all, looking at the impact of cattle farming on the planet compared to cricket farming, the differences are huge.
We realise that the biggest challenge is to overcome negative perceptions in the UK and Europe. Crickets are genetically very similar to prawns and shrimps, which we have been eating for decades, so this thought should take some of the “ick factor” away. By making the crickets into flour and hence converting them into a functional ingredient, it is also easier for most people to take that first bite.
We hope to have given you some food for thought. The rational arguments for trying cricket flour are very strong, all we are asking is a bit of open-mindedness and to remember the 2 billion people all over the world who are already eating insects on a daily basis. That’s a third of the world population! One way to try cricket flour is by trying Crobar, which comes in two initial flavours: Cacao and Peanut. Crobar is gluten- and dairy free, as well as free from added sugar. We strongly believe eating insects is the future, and we look forward to hearing your feedback!
Crobar by Gathr (www.gathrfoods.com) is the first cricket flour energy bar in the UK, and won the 1st prize in the World Food Innovation Awards for Best New Food Concept earlier this month. BUY NOW