TIME TO EMBRACE EATING INSECTS
Before setting up Eat Grub (or Grub for short), the edible insect company, I used to work for an international charity where I was lucky enough to travel the world and see the relationship different cultures had with their food. This was, in fact, when I first tried insects!
It was Malawi, where the beginning of the rainy season sees termites leave their mound and fly for the skies. Not all of them get very far as the kids in the village I was staying were catching them with improvised nets. I thought it was just a fun game until later that day when I was presented with a plate of fried termites seasoned with chilli and lime. Nutty and prawn-like, I genuinely thought they were delicious.
When you delve a little further into the benefits of eating insects – there is a lot out there – it is not hard to see why 80% of the world’s nations eat insects. That’s 2 billion people worldwide. Someone, somewhere, right now is chowing down on a delicious insect meal.
That’s because, as well as being tasty, insects are nutritious and sustainable. High in protein, minerals like iron and calcium and containing essential amino acids like Omega 3 and 6 – insects really should be described as a ‘superhero’ food. They are enjoyed in countries where access to high protein and nutrient rich food can be expensive or hard to come by. Insects are an easy and abundant solution.
And they have been hailed as the food of the future as we try and find more sustainable sources of protein that can feed our growing population. One thing is clear: our climate cannot survive our current eating habits for long.
That is why at Grub we have made it our mission to convince the UK and the West that insects should be enjoyed for the tasty, nutritious and sustainable food source they are.
It’s not an easy task and one that won’t happen overnight. But we are excited for the challenge and have seen some real progress in insects being accepted since we started.
Having an aversion or fear of eating insects is learned behaviour – we are not born with it. And certain TV programmes with bush tucker trials don’t exactly help. But humans easily adapt – and at Grub we love using the example of sushi.
15 years ago, eating raw fish was seen as unacceptable to many and, at best, a gimmick to the rest. Now look, it’s a staple of our high street and supermarket lunch menu. There is absolutely no reason why insects can’t follow the same journey. And there are more important reasons why we should embrace them now
Insects can produce the same amount of protein for a fraction of the land, water and feed used to rear our traditional livestock. Add to this that insects are estimated to release 80% less methane than cows, our precious planet would probably be extremely grateful if we started embracing insects as food.
There are many people and companies in the UK promoting insects for food, and you can already find them online and in various stores. From protein-rich energy bars made from cricket powder to the raw ingredient, and even cookbooks. We know that it won’t be long before we see insects on the supermarket shelf.
About the Author: Shami Radia
Shami is Co-Founder of Eat Grub ltd (or Grub, for short). Before setting up Grub, Shami was Marketing Manager for the charity WaterAid. The idea of eating insects was introduced to Shami on a visit to Malawi with the charity, and he has not looked back since. His experience in marketing has given him a strong understanding of building relevant propositions and audience profiling as well as experience in developing, testing and taking new products to market. His passion for marketing and sustainability made Grub the perfect venture.