Around 40 years ago the U.S. did not relish the idea of consuming raw fish. Many, in fact, even considered eating raw fish barbaric… something for the uncultured or poor. Now sushi is a thriving industry. All it took was some clever branding, the California Roll, and time.
“We’re the Baugh brothers, identical twins born and raised in Colorado with a passion for an active lifestyle and adventure. Our free time is spent skiing, rock climbing, mountain biking, powerlifting, auto racing, cycling, and backpacking.”
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.
I asked them to try crickets with me for the first time.
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.