You might as well get used to the idea, because all of us are going to be eating insects someday. And the trend is probably closer on the horizon—heading for diners’ plates—than many people think. That’s according to Charles Banks, co-founder of The Food People, a global food and drinks trendspotting and ideas agency. “Insects have an excellent balance of protein, fiber, minerals and fat—and their impact on the environment will be much less than it is for, say meat,” he has said.
“Sure, I’ll try it”
The inevitability of insect-eating is the result of a convergence of several social trends at once, encompassing a desire for more sustainable diets; the quest for higher-quality protein and the never-to-be-underestimated “cool” factor among diners who want to try a daring new trend, then Instagram about it for days. While eating bugs may seem like the least romantic dinner-for-two possible, a recent survey showed that one in ten 25 to 34 year olds want to try unusual and bold new foods just to impress a date. (In the same survey, one in eight respondents admitted they only want to try those foods so that they can boast about it on social media.)
What does a bug-centric menu look like?
Buffalo worm burgers, grasshopper tacos, scorpions on a stick and insect pasta may well be the foods of the future. In fact, insects already are ingredients in many foods all over the world. Furthermore, there are an estimated 1,462 insect species that are perfectly edible, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
This eco-friendly protein is already appearing on some mainstream menus. In the United Kingdom, the 10-location Doughnut Time has released a cricket-topped donut that’s described as “sweet and tangy with a serious crunch”. At the Wisconsin State Fair this year, one of the offerings was “Ants on a Stick,” which was a pretzel rod smeared with marshmallow fluff that was rolled in brown and black ants.
Ground cricket flour has been gaining attention, too, since a large insect cookie can contain 20 percent of our RDA for protein. According to the Portland, Oregon-based company Cricket Flours LLC, cricket flour has similar baking properties as grain-based flour, but gives baked goods a nuttier flavor and grainier texture.
“While many articles talk about cricket protein as a new food ingredient, it is more of a rediscovery of something our ancestors already knew for a readily available protein and food source,” founder Charles B. Wilson says.