Anyone for crickets? Insects may soon be on menu
INSECTS could help ease the problem of over-stretched global food resources, claims Alvan Hunt of Irish insect farming company Hexafly.
Although munching on insects is unlikely to eclipse the West’s love affair with beef or lamb anytime soon, Mr Hunt believes insects have a greater role to play in the conventional food industry.
Last week Sainbsury’s became the first British retailer to stock edible crickets produced by Eat Grub.
The supermarket chain made the move as interest in alternative proteins has started to grow due to mounting consumer concerns regarding the perceived over-reliance on traditional meats.
While Hunt believes the Irish palette is far away from developing a taste for novelty products such as edible insects, he said it is a project the Meathbased company is working on for the future.
“I’d love to see insect products sold to consumers in Ireland. It’s big in the US and is used in protein bars and is very high in calcium, but I don’t see those type of products being legalised here just yet.”
While currently Hexafly’s insect oils are aimed at aqua- culture, he and his business partner John Lynam are currently working on insect-based fertilisers and animal feeds which could be an answer to sustainability and supply issues in the agriculture sector.
“Insects take in by-products and feed it to their larvae; this is then converted into protein in their own body and we are able to process that into oils, feed and fertiliser.
“The fertiliser product called fraisse we are developing got a lot of interest from farmers when we were at the Ploughing Championships this year,” said Mr Hunt.
“We did a trial on barley with Trinity College and they used the fraisse fertiliser and it out-performed the most popular brand of mainstream fertiliser — and less insects invaded the plant also. We’d love to supply it to as many Irish farms as we could.” Crickets: rich in calcium