It’s fair to say edible insects are not something most people have grown up eating, but the new foodie trend is increasingly popular.
And it shouldn’t come as a surprise — at least two billion people worldwide have no problem eating bugs.
Starts at 60 chatted with Megna Murali, food consultant and founder of Start Your Food Business and Skye Blackburn from Edible Bug Shop, Australia’s first farmer of edible insects, to find out more.
“Eating insects is really no different from eating any other meats,” Megna explains. In fact, in many cultures, insects already make up 10 per cent of the protein in people’s diets.
And it turns out, edible bugs are packed with nutrients, and are high in protein, micronutrients, B vitamins, omega-3 fats and essential amino acids.
“Edible insects are an important part of a balanced diet. They can improve gut health, and provide a nutritional source of food,” Skye says.
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However, while they may be good for you, not even all the nutrients in the world could entice some to crunch down on a critter. So what does an insect really taste like?
According to Skye, crickets have a mild almond flavour, mealworms have a “walnutty” flavour, while ants can taste like lemon, strawberries or vegemite.
“Eating Insects doesn’t have to be scary,” Skye says.
And while most people assume eating insects involves crunching on whole critters, many insect-based products are frequently found in the form of powders or flour that can easily be added to food during the cooking process.
“Add it to your regular meals and you wont even know its there!” Megna says.
There’s certainly a growing awareness around insect farms, which are environmentally friendly and provide an eco-friendly alternative to animal farming. Traditional sources of protein like meat, vegetables and grains require a lot of resources to produce such as land, feed, water and energy, whereas insect farms are much simpler to run.
“As the world’s population grows, there is a need for more sustainable food sources and insects can provide that,” Megna adds.
So does this mean you can eat bugs straight from your backyard? It’s not something Skye recommends as insects in the wild can be contaminated with pesticides.
“I definitely wouldn’t recommend eating insects out of your backyard,” she says. “They can have bad bugs or pesticides on them which are harmful to your health. Edible insects should always be bread for purpose.”