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

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - RYAN MAHER rma­[email protected]­ RYAN MAHER

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 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?

Pic­tures: Steve Mac­dougall.

Top: Hair­dresser Camp­bell Ewen tries out the ed­i­ble crick­ets. The pack­ets are pro­duced by Eat Grub, above.

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