Crickets, grasshoppers and mealworms might sound more ‘I’m a Celebrity’ than mid-week meal, but once you get past the ick-factor and see their protein-rich nutritional profile and sustainability chops, insects start to look a bit more appealing.
‘I used to work for the charity WaterAid and did quite a lot of travelling as part of my job,’ explains Eat Grub’s co-founder Shami Radia. ‘I tried termites for the first time in Malawi and I thought they were delicious. They were given to me with a beer, and this sparked the initial interest.’ Shami and fellow co-founder Neil Whippey started Eat Grub in 2013 as a series of pop-ups that utilised the culinary skills of Farang’s Seb Holmes to try and normalise eating insects.
Although the events were successful, the pair have since changed tack and launched a range of insect-based products, including packets of smoky barbecue roasted crickets that are now stocked in the alcohol aisles of Sainsbury’s. ‘We pitch them as a sustainable and healthy pork scratching and see them as a way of honouring how insects are commonly eaten by two billion people throughout the world – in their true form,’ adds Shami.
‘Ultimately, insects require just a fraction of the land, water and feed compared to traditional livestock, and are probably the only protein source that can farmed vertically. They aren’t going to solve the future food problems on their own, but they can be a big part of it.’
Anyone for a pint and a packet of crickets?