Is cricket the new white meat? BYU food scientist studies edible insects
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Is cricket the new white meat? BYU food scientist studies edible insects

September 22, 2019


About eighty percent of the world’s population eat insects in some form, but in Europe and the United States insects are considered something that you don’t want in your food. About seventy percent of the world population is at least familiar with the concept of eating insects as food the United Nations has put a lot of research into looking at which insects can be eaten and whether insects are sustainable food source. Crickets are a great source of protein comparable to what beef would supply. It has the nine essential amino acids. It’s high in vitamin b12 and also an excellent source of iron. It only takes about eight percent of the resources to raise up an equal amount of protein than it would be for cattle. We’ve been working with a small utah company that produces cricket bars. One of our roles at BYU is to help them with product development, so our goal is to try to understand the consumer more. People don’t want to eat a whole cricket, so right now that’s being developed as a ground-up powder that can be incorporated into different foods. By themselves they’re kind of earthy. When you eat them with other things they don’t necessarily have their own flavor. I’ve had them chocolate covered, and the taste and texture is like a Kit-Kat. We have a sensory lab on campus which is basically a taste testing lab where we can bring consumers in to taste different products that are being developed for the food industry. We also asked them before and after they tasted the actual products what their attitude was about eating insects, and there was an increase in consumer acceptability or willingness to eat them. It does take a little bit of wrapping my mind around have crickets in your protein bar but it’s got really nice flavor and texture. As far as becoming mainstream in the United States my personal opinion is that it’s going to take awhile i think we’ll see the market grow and therefore people have other opportunities to taste crickets and maybe there’s not so much of the fear factor. I think we’re a long way away from making it the new white meat, but it is very chic right now.

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  1. Tried roasted crickets several years ago. Texture of the crunch in Nestle Cruch Bar. Mildly nutty taste. Definitely a mental barrier that will need to be overcome if it is to be successful in the western world. But then eggs are pretty gross if you really think about what we're eating.

  2. Over 40 years ago, I wrote a short play where I mentioned this as a concept. Let's face it: insects reproduce much more prolifically than other land-based animals. Since the population keeps growing and people in many countries go hungry, we would be better off finding a protein source that consumes fewer resources.

  3. I'm teaching nutrition to my middle school kids in NYC. I was originally just going to eat a chocolate covered cricket as part of my protein lesson, and am now looking forward to adding some of the protein bars as a "gateway" option for folks who may find the recognizable insect just a little too difficult to . . . swallow.

  4. The more videos I watch about this the more my mind is relaxing and willingness to give it a try one day.

  5. I personally think the biggest problem for me is the legs. The legs are just not palatable to me, so I just take them off. The torso is pretty good though. Just ordered some Chapulines and I'm pretty excited for them as they come without the legs. Really hard to get good insects where I live so I go online a lot. Does the Utah company have an online store? I would like to try the bars.

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