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Brief Published: 17 Oct 2014

Culinary Crickets for Mass Consumption

Critter Bitters

To satisfy global consumer demand for protein (where demand increasingly outstrips supply), there is an urgent need to develop alternative sources. In response, insects are being cultivated as a nutritious and filling protein supplement.

Development in this domain is forging ahead, with innovative insect farms and food companies crafting insect-based products that challenge expectations, and align with current food trends.

Next Millennium Farms in Canada has recently started producing gluten-free crickets, which are fed rice and corn instead of wheat. The company also produces an organic cricket flour that is approved by the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency), and is also researching how to optimise crickets for Paleo diets.

Meanwhile, Ohio-based Big Cricket Farms is the first in America to raise crickets exclusively for human consumption, as covered in Future Farming. The farm manipulates the livestock's diets to infuse the insects with new flavours. For example, by consuming carrots, they take on a faint carrot flavour.

Aiming to elevate insect flavours through the production process, San Francisco baked goods company Bitty uses slow-roasted crickets for a toasted, nutty flavour. The insects are then milled into fine flour. Similarly, Critter Bitters – a project by New York's School of Visual Arts – was a line of cocktail bitters made with toasted crickets. 

For more on this subject, see Branding Insect Crisps, Food Vision 2014 and New Edible Ideals.

In addition, US airline JetBlue will begin selling selection boxes from NY-based snack box company AccelFoods on flights early next year. Filled with independently produced food products, they are likely to include Exo protein bars (explored in Insect Protein Bars), which are made with ground cricket flour – again emphasising insects' viability as a commercial food ingredient.

For more on flexible food options on-board, look out for In-Transit Innovation, publishing as part of the Future Service Industry Trend later this month.