New snack just isn’t cricket... except it is!
Taste of the future as packets of proteinrich barbecued crickets go on sale at Fair City store
No longer the stuff of bushtucker trials, the first edible insects to hit UK supermarket shelves have landed in Courier Country – and yesterday we put the tastebuds of the good folk of Perth to the test.
Sainsbury’s announced it was introducing barbecue flavour crickets to 250 stores earlier this week and the first packs, made by manufacturers Eat Grub, have now found their way to the Fair City’s High Street store.
Already a popular treat in Asia, the snacks received some surprisingly positive reviews – and a good helping of bemusement – when The Courier dished out the nibbles.
Postman Steven Kerr said: “They are not too bad. They taste like the bottom of a packet of crisps.
“I wouldn’t buy them again but I could see them taking off.”
Hairdresser Campbell Ewen was pleasantly surprised by the flavour and said he would probably even purchase them himself.
“They are really tasty,” he said. “Quite crunchy, a lot like cereal. It’s certainly something I would have again.”
Martine Jacquemin, of delicatessen Provender Brown, turned her expert food knowledge to the task.
She said: “The taste is OK. The consistency, I’m not too sure about. I guess it’s our future protein.
“It’s the way it’s going and I’m sure in the future we will go down that route.
“We might not sell crickets here but in the end I can see them being put inside burgers and other meats.”
The company behind the snacks says it wants to produce alternative protein sources.
According to the British Nutrition Foundation, gram for gram, crickets yield more protein than beef, chicken and pork. Eat Grub says crickets only need one litre of water to produce one kilogram of protein, whereas a cow needs 22,000 litres.
Shami Radia, co-founder of Eat Grub, said: “Currently, insects are eaten and enjoyed by two billion people worldwide.
“We’re on a mission to show the western world that as well as having very strong sustainability and environmental credentials, they are also seriously tasty and shouldn’t be overlooked as a great snack or recipe ingredient.”
That view is shared by Duncan Williamson of WWF UK who said the use of crickets as food can help to reduce our carbon footprint.
Rachel Eyre, head of future brands at Sainsbury’s, said: “Insect snacks should no longer be seen as a gimmick or something for a dare, and it’s clear that consumers are increasingly keen to explore this new sustainable protein source.” Thursday happened to be my last day at The Courier and, heading into it, I was not really sure what to expect.
One final front page perhaps? Heartfelt pats on the back from tearful colleagues? Maybe even cake.
What I didn’t expect was to be sent out on to the streets of Perth with a bag of toasted crickets to ask bewildered locals to give them a taste.
As much as I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here has done to bring the bushtucker trial to the great British public, I’ll admit I was daunted by the prospect of trying them myself.
The process of lifting one out of a bag, staring it in the eye and placing it in your mouth is just not that appealing.
And yet...it tasted fine. The barbecue flavour helped me through the initial “there’s a cricket in my mouth” phase, before it dispersed in a dust-like tang.
And while the taste didn’t leave me begging for more, the environmental benefits might.
These small creatures could be a step forward in saving us from devouring growing mountains of meat for protein, and destroying resources that feed the animals to produce it.
When it comes to the future of grub, insects could be the very dab.
They are unlikely to be everyone’s cup of tea (or indeed preferred snack choice) but crickets have hit the shelves of a major UK supermarket for the first time.
Perhaps not surprisingly the springy-legged critters did not delight everybody during a Courier taste test yesterday.
But don’t knock it until you’ve tried it – so next time you fancy a tasty snack, why not jump to it?
Top: Hairdresser Campbell Ewen tries out the edible crickets. The packets are produced by Eat Grub, above.