It’s with a happy heart and an older soul that I write this particular post. It’s a post of gratitude to my friends and family who gathered around last weekend for some birthday festivities. I asked them not to come bearing gifts, but an open mind instead.
The sun was shining brightly last Sunday in beautiful Santa Monica as I sat down with a closet friend to enjoy some mimosas and brunch food. Our catch up on life and work was suddenly interrupted as she abruptly stood up and spilled her beverage all over. What caused the frenzy? A cricket had landed on her lap.
What do you get when you combine a shared passion for outdoor sports, nature, and healthy food? Fit people. Fit people who have great ideas… like making protein bars out of crickets.
William Walcker, Minh-Anh Pham, and Antoine Domergue are the three men who woke up one morning and decided they would make protein bars out of crickets. Kidding – it’s a much more interesting story than that. I had the pleasure of speaking with Minh to hear a little more about how he went from triathlete to cricket evangelist.
The horizon is vast, and the journey will be long, but I’m excited so many edible insect companies are coming along!
Wendy Lu McGill, CEO of Rocky Mountain Micro Ranch, made a great point during her presentation at Eating Insects Detroit. She mentioned that most of the entomo-enthusiasts in the room had something in common: they were, or are, first to market *mic drop*.
What does it mean to be first to market? The edible insect market is relatively new in our modern industrial timeline. It’s beautiful / cool / exciting / invigorating to be at the precipice of a new industry – to be a part of a community where the rules are still being written! One could also say, however, it’s confusing / stressful / risky / an uphill battle to be at the precipice of a new industry where the rules are still being written. It depends how you look at it.
“It’s a seasoning blend made with roasted ground cricket, sea salt and spices. Made by none other than myself. It works really well as a beer salt.” – Mark Nagy.
Mark – my man – you’ve truly outdone yourself! After my interview with with the Cadesky brothers about their mouth-watering bolognese sauce, I’ve been obsessed with products out there that normalize insects as ingredients. What better way to bring edible insects to the masses than in the trojan horses of foods we already know and love? …On second thought, trojan horses may be a bad comparison. These foods are not hiding their special ingredient – Nagy’s product is called Sal de CRICKET for goodness sake – but they are certainly changing the way we think about insects and food.
Class is in session!
The rustling of eager students settling into their seats softened as the lights in the auditorium dimmed. “Let’s set the stage to discuss the U.S. regulation of insect-derived foods,” began Ricardo Carvajal, director at Hyman, Phelps & McNamara. He was about to take us on a journey touching on what is known on the past, current, and possible future of regulatory facts that matter for those of us interested in entomophagy.
It felt like I was in university again… how I wish I could have taken classes about THIS!
So… we have this weird proclivity to refer to food as “grub,” but get turned off by the thought of eating a grub. Ironic much?
As the cost of animal protein continues to rise and food and feed insecurity becomes more problematic, we need to get serious about addressing our food choices.
Thankfully, most of the world is already eating insects. From Mexico to Asia, two billion people eat a regular diet of insects. In Western cultures, at least it seems to be a growing trend from groups of people as diverse as bodybuilders and environmentalists.
Big. Bold. Beautiful. Saucy.
I could easily be describing your dream girl. Or I could be lauding the incredible flavor profile of my new favorite bolognese sauces. One Hop Kitchen has created the world’s first best, and only insect based bolognese sauce using crickets and mealworms.
As they tout on their website, their sauces have big bolognese flavor with a tiny environmental footprint. Replacing beef with insect protein makes a huge difference. One jar of One Hop Kitchen’s bolognese saves 1900 L of water compared to beef (that’s 18 bathtubs). Livestock rearing is responsible for 18% of green house gas emissions – anything we can do to lower our reliance on livestock is a step in the right direction. Ok we know that eating insects is good for our health, and that of the environment, but what makes One Hop Kitchen so special?
Few things perk me up in the morning like receiving an email titled, “New Research on Cricket Farming – Thought You’d Be Interested.” Any contribution to the growing literature on entomophagy is a welcome gift! Last week I received such a message and dove into a great piece called Small-Scale Cricket Farming by Thomas Weigel of Veterinarians Without Borders.
AUSTIN, TX (May 16, 2016) – Little Herds, an edible insect nonprofit, based in Austin, Texas, is proud to announce the formation and meeting of the U.S’s first edible insect trade organization, North American Edible Insects Coalition, NAEIC. “We are excited that the NAEIC will be meeting for the first time at Eating Insects Detroit, at the U.S.’s first edible insect conference, held at Wayne State University in Detroit, May 26-28″ stated Robert Nathan Allen, Founder of Little Herds.