The next big thing in food has a lot of things going for it, but truth be told, it’s not for the squeamish. Imagine biting into a sushi roll, snack bar or crispy cracker and getting a hearty dose of crunchy protein from an unusual ingredient. What is it, you wonder? Well, it’s healthy, it’s sustainable and it’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids and micronutrients. It’s bugs.
Wait, what? Yup, it’s true. An Austin-based organization called Little Herds is working to introduce entomophagy, the practice of eating insects, into the mainstream diet. In fact, within a year of its launch in mid-2013, the nonprofit group participated in more than three dozen events focused on introducing kids and adults alike to the wonders of eating creepy crawly critters that — until recently — haven’t exactly been a staple of the American diet. The group hopes that getting children used to the concept from a young age will help it catch on with ease in the future. And it’s growing in popularity among open-minded, health-conscious adults too.
In particular, crickets have made their way (via a high-protein, nutrient-rich flour called “aketta”) onto the shelves of Austin’s beloved eco-minded grocer In.gredients. Renowned local chef Sonya Cote also used it to make polenta at a Future Food Salon ATX event, while well-known sushi chef Peter Yung was inspired to make a sushi roll using whole crickets and mealworms.
Lately, insects can also be found — intentionally, that is — in packaged foods that are gaining traction among the paleo crowd. Hopper Foods, for example, offers a line of paleo granola made with cricket flour. Available in three flavors (cranberry + almond, toasted coconut, and cacao + cayenne), each serving packs nine grams of protein, plus plenty of iron, omega-3s and good fats, as well as small amounts of two blood sugar-friendly sweeteners: dried fruit and Texas honey. Brace yourselves, and bon appétit!
Would you try a snack made with aketta? Tell us what you think in the comments section below!