Edible insects, whether they’re in the form of grasshopper tacos, cricket powder cookies or cricket pasta, are not something the average consumer is likely to welcome with open arms. However, with the global population on course to reach almost ten billion by 2050 and existing farming practices unable to sustain this level of growth long term, something has got to give. And entomophagy – or the eating of insects to you and me – could well be the answer to the problem.
While a bowl of crickets or mealworms may not be everyone’s preferred dish, the edible insect trend is picking up momentum. The UK has even seen ‘Grub Kitchen’ open, the first dedicated iinsect restaurant. In this blog, we explore the benefits of the food craze that puts the ‘new’ back into nouvelle cuisine. And how the viable, sustainable food source can be better presented through packaging to help support its cause.
- Sustainable benefits
It’s estimated that one hectare of land can produce at least 150 tonnes of insect protein per year. Compare this to the enormous amount of land that cattle farming requires (one-third of the earth’s available land) and insect farming becomes a no brainer. And that’s without mentioning the vast quantities of water and feed that could be removed from the equation. In addition to this, scientists have found that rearing edible bugs produces 80 times less methane than cattle farming.
- Behind the times
By not eating insects, the Western world is getting left behind. On a daily basis, two billion people in East Asia and Africa eat insects such as scorpions and mealworms.
In fact, without even knowing it, those who do not choose to consume insects as part of their diet can still eat 450 to 900 grammes per year due to small amounts being present in many foods.
- Great nutritional source
Insects are an excellent source of high-quality protein. For example, the cricket is a real protein powerhouse, providing consumers with 60 per cent complete protein. Packed full of nutrients, the insect contains all nine amino acids, as much vitamin B12 as salmon, three times as much iron as spinach and more magnesium and zinc than beef. We’d say that’s a mighty amount for such a tiny creature.
There are approximately 1900 different types of edible bugs. Taking advantage of this proliferation, many brands are getting in on the action and creating new and exciting ways to consume these small invertebrates. The insect food and drink sector is growing by the day, from Nutribug and Krik8 offering cricket pasta, to dark chocolate-mealworm spread from Green Kow.
4. Great packaging
It seems fitting that this sustainable protein solution is wrapped in environmentally friendly packaging. And that’s exactly why Next Step Foods Ltd. approached Parkside about compostable packaging for their new Yumpabar range. Each Yumpa bar contains 32 powdered crickets, plus nuts, seeds and dried fruit, and is free from gluten, diary, soya and sulphites and has no added sugar or additives.
Parkside’s home compostable solution for the bar is manufactured from sustainable sources and includes a paper to cellophane duplex laminated structure that has attained full accreditation under Vincotte’s OK Compost Home and Seedling certification. The barrier laminate used in the pack is also the first of its kind in the UK to complete the rigorous disintegration and eco-toxicity testing required for home composting with recognised European laboratory, OWS.
So, with mini-beasts on the menu of the future, it’s time to think about how you can introduce them into your range. Contact us today for more advice on our environmentally-sound, complementary packaging solutions.