Entomophagy – the eating of insects, arachnids and centipedes – isn’t a new idea. It’s even mentioned in the Bible, as well as in ancient Roman and Greek texts. But most Brits would view the idea of eating insects as absurd. And pretty gross.
But with some two billion people around the world eating insects as part of their regular diet, I wonder if we could ever get used to it here in Wales? One couple based in Pembrokeshire certainly thinks so.
This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Discover Delicious, home of the largest selection of Welsh food & drink online.
Whilst browsing the Discover Delicious website looking for sustainable foodie gift ideas, I came across Bug Farm Foods. Based in wild West Wales, their aim is to create delicious and sustainable food using insect protein.
The idea comes from the brains of husband and wife team, entomologist (insect scientist) Dr Sarah Beynon and award-winning Chef Andy Holcroft. Together, they have developed a new generation of insect-based foods to help tackle issues of sustainability in the food chain.
But why eat insects?
By 2050 there will be almost 10 billion people on Earth and, to feed them all, we will require 70% more food, 120% more water and 42% more crop land. By 2050 meat production is predicted to double, but to meet current environmental targets, impacts of livestock on the environment will need to halve compared to what they are today.
The pressure for land for raising livestock is also causing havoc to our wildlife; of all the mammals on Earth, 60% are livestock, 36% are humans and only 4% are wild.
Essentially, there is an urgent, global need to find alternative protein sources, and insects are packed full of the stuff.
How will eating insects help the environment?
Many insects breed quickly and require very little space, or water. This makes farming them extremely efficient. For example, it takes about 22,000 litres of water to produce 1kg of beef, whereas it takes just 1-10 litres of water to produce 1kg of edible insect protein…and they release 99% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than cattle in the process. To produce the equivalent amount of protein, some insects require 12-25 times less feed when compared to cattle, and half the feed compared to chickens.
Eating insects could be the key to a more sustainable planet. So I decided to give them a try…
Fancy a ‘Bug Biscuit’ with your cup of tea?
I chucked a selection of The Bug Farm’s edible insect treats in with my latest order from DiscoverDelicious – their range includes cookies with chilli and/or chocolate chips made with powdered cricket, and spiced orange and laverbread cookies with powdered ‘buffalos’ – commonly known as mealworms.
I went for the chocolate chip cricket cookies; lovely with a cup of tea and pretty much tasting like like any normal, luxury chocolate biscuit!
But I also ordered some of the powdered and whole, dried insects – a bit scary-looking – but good for getting a bit more creative with in the kitchen. They look off-putting, but the dried mealworms and crickets have a a nice, puffed-rice sort of texture, and a malty taste – I think they’re going to work really well baked into something sweet.
This weekend, I’m going to try making some chocolate ‘bug brownies’ packed with dried crickets, and the aforementioned ‘buffalos’ – and if they turn out ok, I’ll post the recipe here.
Would you give edible insects a try?
A few years ago, Mexican restaurant Wahaca put a cricket-based special on their menu, frying them with onions and chillies to create a salsa with a nutty flavour – perfect for scooping up with corn tortillas. It felt like more of a PR stunt than a genuine move toward normalising entomophagy, but it certainly caught my interest.
Now, after giving the Bug Farm Foods cookies a go, I won’t hesitate to try any new insect-based foods, and if the trend continues, it could become much more common very soon. So do you think you’d be up for eating insects in the future? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
To see the full range of Bug Farm Foods available at Discover Delicious, visit: discoverdelicious.wales/producer/bug-farm-foods.