Holy crickets! Farm-raised insects for human consumption

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Holy crickets! Farm-raised insects for human consumption

By Carolyn Schierhorn, Ensemble IQ - 08/08/2017

Crickets have long been farm-raised in the United States for fish bait and, in more recent decades, for pet lizard food. According to biochemist and entomologist Aaron T. Dossey, PhD, crickets also have enormous value as a high-protein ingredient for human consumption.

“The potential market is much larger than that of pet food and fish bait combined,” said Dossey, the founder and owner of Oklahoma City-based All Things Bugs.

All Things Bugs manufactures Griopro, a cricket powder Dossey developed that has a mild flavor and is recommended for use in smoothies, shakes and baked goods such as protein bars and cookies.

The company’s website provides a number of recipes for the powder, including Cricket Powder Cinnamon Banana Bread, Cricket Powder Breakfast Biscuits, Cricket Powder Pancakes, Very Berry Smoothie, Taco Meat and Cricket Panang Curry Sauce, a Thai dish. Crickets are commonly eaten in Thailand, which has some 30,000 cricket farms, Dossey said.

Individual consumers can order the cricket powder online, but the company can also supply the ingredient in bulk to food processing companies and grocery retailers with bakeries or foodservice operations.

In addition to being high in protein, crickets have considerable iron — 12.91 milligrams per 100 grams, “just shy of” beef’s 15.47 milligrams per 100 grams, stated an article titled “Edible Insects Have More Iron than Sirloin Beef,” posted on ScientificAmerican.com on Nov. 11, 2016.

Crickets also are a decent source of B vitamins and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, Dossey noted.

Natural and sustainable, cricket powder has enthusiasts among paleo diet aficionados and the environmentally conscious, he added.

A feature article in the August issue of Store Brands will provide a detailed look at nutrient-dense ingredients.