Ji­miny Cric­kets! The truth about bugs as food …

La Jornada (Canada) - - PORTADA -

of our food supply chain is still a psy­cho­lo­gi­cal stretch.

For Lo­blaw though, it’s about health and sus­tai­na­bi­lity, and the ca­se for cric­kets is very com­pe­lling. A 2.5-ta­bles­poon ser­ving has 90 ca­lo­ries and 13 grams of pro­tein. It al­so con­tains enough vi­ta­min B12 to carry you th­rough the day. Per ki­lo­gram, cric­kets con­tain as much pro­tein as pork. The Uni­ver­sity of Ox­ford pu­blis­hed a very com­pe­lling study on the nu­tri­tio­nal va­lue of cric­kets ver­sus meat pro­ducts. Mea­su­ring pro­tein con­tent, vi­ta­mins, su­gar and fat, cric­kets end up ahead in most ca­te­go­ries.

In­sects are bet­ter at con­ver­ting feed to pro­tein than lar­ger li­ves­tock. En­to­mo Farms, ba­sed in Nor­wood, Ont., sup­plies the pro­duct to Lo­blaw. Ope­ra­tions in Nor­wood have grown by 12 ti­mes sin­ce 2014, as the de­mand for cric­kets grows ex­po­nen­tially. Be­cau­se cric­kets can re­pro­du­ce very quickly and ta­ke up very little spa­ce, the crop is in­cre­dibly ef­fi­cient. Cu­rrency for cric­kets is ri­sing, on both si­des of the supply-de­mand con­ti­nuum.

Whi­le so­me stu­dies point out li­mi­ta­tions around cric­ket con­sum­ption, scien­ti­fic con­sen­sus is buil­ding. It’s not sur­pri­sing then, that Lo­blaw has been loo­king at this for a few years.

Lo­blaw is tes­ting con­su­mers’ cu­rio­sity and wi­llin­gness to ex­plo­re new die­tary op­tions. But they’re not exactly gi­ving the pro­duct away. When laun­ched, the re­tail pri­ce point was al­most $16 for a 113-gram bag. The pri­ce drop­ped to $14 just a few days la­ter.

Gi­ven how inex­pen­si­ve cric­ket pro­duc­tion is, mar­gins are li­kely high be­cau­se of the shelf spa­ce sa­cri­fi­ced to stock this item.

Cric­ket flour can be used in smoot­hies, yo­gurt, soups, oat­meal and ba­ked goods, among many ot­her things. And with its neu­tral fla­vour, it won’t spoil the tas­te.

But Lo­blaw is bold to put a pic­tu­re of a cric­ket on a pac­ka­ge with its pri­zed Pre­si­dent’s Choi­ce brand lo­go.

This shift al­so speaks to how our re­la­tions­hip with food is chan­ging. Aest­he­tics, fla­vour, pri­ce and con­ve­nien­ce re­main the ma­jor fac­tors in choo­sing the food we eat. But the nu­tri­tio­nal con­tent of every sin­gle in­gre­dient in our foods is gai­ning mo­re at­ten­tion.

From our pers­pec­ti­ve, cric­kets don’t look ap­pe­ti­zing. But neit­her did lobs­ter at one ti­me. Lobs­ters, on­ce known as the coc­kroa­ches of the sea, are now con­su­med as a de­li­cacy. De­mand is al­so up for weird-loo­king spe­cies li­ke

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