Any­one for crick­ets? In­sects may soon be on menu

Irish Independent - Farming - - NEWS - CLAIRE FOX

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

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