ADSactly Tech News - Insects as Food and the Technology Making it Possible!

in technology •  17 days ago

I remember growing up and going to my grandparents house in Goshen, Indiana almost every summer as a child. My parents would ship me over there knowing full well I needed supervision while they worked but the fact that I enjoyed spending time there with them seemed to be the icing on the cake.

I'd spend evenings hanging out there watching TV or swimming in the pool for the most part but once in a while someone would take me out and about the neighborhood looking for fireflies and once in a while I'd decide to catch one and observe it in a jar for a while.



Image Source: Pexels


Never once did I think of these magical insects as my next meal but hey, times are changing and with the world population growing exponentially and resources becoming increasingly scarce, there is a real possibility that we will need to make drastic changes to our diet as a species and one of the most drastic changes seems to be changing a meat based protein source for one derived from insects!

From conducting research into this topic I've learned that there is a vast amount of information out there on this subject and many interesting things being done in regard to food science and specifically using insect based inputs to create new and exciting protein food products.

I realize that a lot of my readers may be absolutely repulsed by this topic but one thing I've learned from my reading is the fact that this isn't a fad or a trend, this transformation of food is taking place so the quicker you can embrace this, the more likely you'll have success at the supermarket going forward.

In this article I'll discuss the idea of insects as protein and also touch on a few things being done around the technology of food processing in regard to manufacturing processed foods containing protein derived from insects.


Image Source: Food Navigator Asia

In March of 2018, Thailand’s Cricket Lab Farm was established. Since then they have been incredibly successful in farming crickets with the end result being an ability to sell 3.5 tonnes of cricket flour each month.

Imagine what you could make with cricket flour for a moment... Think about your favorite snacks, cereals, breads and imagine if instead of wheat they were made with healthy, wholesome, cricket flour! Hard to imagine right?

A little known fact about cricket flour is that it commands a price of about 500 Thai baht per kg. Putting this in US Dollar terms it is about $16 per kg. Now not all cricket flours are made equal and it is not uncommon for the flour to command as much as 1,500 baht for a flour of premium quality.

Thailand’s Cricket Lab Farm is located in Chiang Mai. Going into the specifics of their operation a bit, the farm uses a multi-prong approach to improve yields, including the use of vertical farming. Radek Hušek, co-founder of SENS Foods and The Cricket Lab explained that due to their advanced farming methods they are able to operate an extremely efficient operation yielding tons of viable crickets annually.

Plastic boxes are stored on racks as tall as 6 metres and the farm grows crickets in an enclosed and controlled environment. This is a very advanced approach compared to other operations conducted by local Thai farmers that generally farm in open spaces.

The incorporation of cricket flour into food products is really starting to pick up pace in the US and is projected to increase exponentially as tastes and preferences align more with this extremely viable source of protein.

While it is termed as flour, cricket flour, however, is not the main basic baking ingredient. Other conventional flours such as wheat flour and rye wheat are still required, and the addition of cricket flour is mainly to provide protein.

“While it is named flour, it is an industrial term to let people know that cricket flour is edible, it can be eaten,” Hušek explained.

To give my readers an example, a 60g protein bar may contain 20% of cricket flour, which is equivalent to as many as 192 crickets.

Hušek, who also owns food manufacturing company SENS, uses cricket flour to make bread and protein bars for B2C sales as well. Most of the biggest cricket flour manufacturers are based in the US and Canada currently. The Cricket Lab is no different in its Western-centric business strategy, with most customers coming from European and US customers. Despite targeting at the Western market, the firm believes that the choice to set its manufacturing facility and farm in Thailand will do more good than harm to their business.

“We are able to build the knowledge based on that of the Thai farmers… The farming infrastructure in Thailand is also well-established. There is a university which has the programme for insect farming, equipment and feed.” ​

"Because Thailand is warmer, it has a competitive advantage over the Western countries since crickets need to grow in an environment with a higher temperature. The labour cost over there is also lower."​

Image Source: Clean Technica

Operations like the one discussed above are just beginning and this is sure to be a very profitable and successful industry once people get on board and start chowing down on crickets! Things have been going so well that the team intends to scale up their production, having established their farm's infrastructure.

There are many things that need to be done to keep an operation like this going at maximum capacity. For example, every day, the team adjusts the lighting, temperature, water and feed ingredients to find out the best farming environment, which is the crucial step in scaling up production.

“By farming crickets in a closed and controlled environment, we make sure we have consistent yield and ensure food safety, which is different from other open-concept farms in Thailand, where the crickets can be susceptible to diseases and parasites. We also developed a ventilation system to keep the farm in a steady temperature,” Hušek elaborated.​

It is interesting to note that the team behind this operation has an innovative method and farms new crickets on a daily basis. This is vastly different from the common practice of local Thai farmers who farm every 35 days.

“Most Thai farmers are doing batch growing. A cricket takes 35 days to grow to its adult stage. We start a brand new cycle each day, meaning we have crickets of varying age, from one-day-old to 35 days old for each day,” he added.

Together with the use of vertical farming, the farm maximises the growing area in terms of per square metres, which he estimated would be 20 to 100 times more yield than non-vertical farming methods. In optimised production, the farm can grow 500 million crickets per year. He added that processing crickets into flour is also a costly step as it could be labour intensive. Previously, the team separated crickets from its manure manually and would later kill the crickets with low temperatures, before grinding and drying the crickets.

The key to really picking up production is changing the way the crickets are processed. The processing in the lab now uses a “harvesting” machine to separate the crickets from the manure. This results in cutting down human intervention by 50%.

“Having the spray drying is the main advantage. It dries the crickets instantly, hence preserving vitamins and micro-nutrients which would otherwise be lost during other high-heat drying methods.”

At the end of the day, he said that the vision of the lab is to empower local farmers with the know-how for maximising production.

“We expect a rising market with cricket flour globally, but local farmers can’t be part of it due to problems in scaling up production. We will license the know-how that we have acquired and go to local Thai farmers to tell them the standards of making cricket flour to the global market. This is how we involve the local community and expand the farming standards to the other countries.”​


Image Source: Live Kindly

Now that I've discussed a bit about the technology behind this new protein revolution, let me tell you about a few products on the market that are moving in to capitalize on it.

A company called Chirps Chips is one of the first to openly promote and market the idea of eating bugs! Having redefined the tortilla chip, Chirps Chips uses crickets milled into a flour to create crunchy, healthy, and eco-friendly snacks.

One of the biggest selling points of this new product is that crickets that are used to create them are much more sustainable and eco-friendly when it comes to harvesting due to the fact that only one gallon of water per pound of crickets is needed when compared to 2000 gallons for beef. Beyond that the cricket flour offers more protein and less fat!

The company is reducing land use, farm to table distance, and using excess product as cricket food, helping to reduce 60 million tonnes of food wastage per year in the US. This is definitely something to be chirpy about.

But really this all boils down to tastes. If we can't get enough people on board, this simply won't work. So, @ADSactly society members, what do you think about all this?

Are you ready to give up meat in exchange for healthy insect protein? If the protein is processed and you didn't have to eat insects in their natural form, would that make the idea more palatable?

I want to know what you think! Do you see insect farming as a solution to sustainablity and global warming?

Here's a chance for you to leave your thoughts and opinions about this topic!

Thanks for reading.


Authored by: @techblogger

In-text citations sources:

'Insect tech: Start-up producing 3.5 tonnes of cricket flour per month in Chiang Mai' - FoodNavigator Asia

'Future Of Food: Insects On The Menu' - Clean Technica

'Is Eating Insects the Ethical Future of Protein?' - Live Kindly

Image Sources:

Live Kindly, Clean Technica, Food Navigator Asia, Pexels

Click on the coin to join our Discord Chat



Go Adsactly

Vote @adsactly-witness for Steem witness!
Witness proposal is here:


Witness Proposal
Witness Proposal Update


Go To Steem Witness Page
In the bottom of the page type: adsactly-witness and press vote.
witness vote.gif
Use small letters and no "@" sign. Or, click here to vote directly!
Thank you!


Authors get paid when people like you upvote their post.
If you enjoyed what you read here, create your account today and start earning FREE STEEM!
Sort Order:  

In our Latin American community, especially in Mexico, we have already experienced the consumption of this type of protein. It is called the food of the future! And seeing the scarcity and population growth in the world, it seems that this could be a viable solution. At one point I ate grasshoppers and the taste was like corn, they were crunchy. I think if you don't tell people what it's all about, people won't even notice the difference! Many people are prejudiced and may not dare to taste this exotic delicacy. For example, Venezuela is going through a serious economic and food crisis. It is impossible because of the cost, to consume meat from cattle and poultry, even in the sea there is a shortage of products. I believe that the breeding and consumption of this product would be an immediate and medium-term solution for the nutrition of our country. Greetings

·

Great contribution. Thanks for reading the article and providing context in regard to Latin America's current position on insects as food. Take care.

The development of entomophagy and the diversification of food production could thus stop malnutrition in some third world countries exposed to this scourge. By finding other sources of protein and allowing everyone to start breeding edible insects, we could achieve a healthy self-sufficiency for the planet. Aid to the Third World would then no longer be necessary, each state would be master of its food sources. We would limit the current over-consumption and we would conserve other over-exploited natural resources.

It should be noted that in the East, the diet based on edible insects is already highly developed. Some insects are even considered tasty food, served on special occasions and considered as kings' dishes, in the same way as caviar, lobster or venison in Europe.

Human beings eat mammalians (goat, sheep, cows, buffaloes, deer etc), avian (chicken, ducks, turkeys etc), reptiles (turtles etc), Pisces (many types of fish), crustaceans (lobster, crabs, prawns etc) and mollusks (clams, octopus, squids etc). We also eat lots of plants and fungi. So, there is nothing bizarre in eating insects. In many parts of the world insects are treated as delicacy. Especially in African countries, South-east Asian nations and China, they eat many animals which are not eaten in other parts of the world. Many types of insects are eaten there. Even dog meat is liked very much in parts of North-eastern part of India and South-east Asian countries.
Dog meat is not acceptable in other part of India, North and South America and in Europe. They also not eat horse meat. But in India cow (beef) is a taboo and in Islamic countries they cannot think to eat pork. So, every part of the world has some taboos in eating matters. Eating insects has been a big taboo but during the time of famine, people are forced to eat everything. They can consume other human’s meat as well, so the little insects become insignificant. I think it is not a matter of like or dislike as our eating habits are mainly decided by our cultural and religious values. Insects are also living creature like us. They can be the source of rich nutritious food. So, one day people would not consider it a taboo to consume food stuffs made from insects.

Well done @adsactly, quite an informative post. While insects are being fed on in some parts of Nigeria where I come from: on a micro scale if you would compare, I have reservations about this source of protein because of its potential of causing gout and other complications. Does the processing involve any form or reducing the uric acid levels of these insects?

·

This is a very interesting question and as I am only now becoming a student of nutritional science and learning about the possibility of using insects as an alternative source of protein I didn't have a clue about the answer to your question. Because you've put me on the spot and I hate to say 'I don't know' I did a bit of research that I hope readers find useful. According to a study by the US National Lab of Science, larvae of mealworm and superworm are protein-rich and purine-low meat alternatives. In contrast, cricket nymphs are protein-rich and purine-rich and cannot be recommended for people with hyperuricemia or gout.

In regard to the possibility of modifying the protein in crickets to reduce the harmful purine this may be possible but I was unable to find any information as to whether or not that is being done or at what scale.

Thanks for making me smarter!

·
·

You're welcome @techblogger. Thanks for also taking time to do some extra research. I hope companies involved in the production of insect-based food put this into consideration.

I must tell you that you are quite right in what you say. Studies prove that insects have more proteins than legumes, and even some meats. They have also revealed that the insentos can be an option not only to favor the reduction of global warming. But to allow the control of the species, and the reconstitution of these. Personally I have never thought about eating insects, but it is not bad to experiment with a new diet, maybe we like it. I read that well prepared are very tasty. Hahaha. Excellent article, I liked it a lot. I am a medical student and this type of information is very useful in my area. :)

·

That really makes me pleased. I'm happy you found this article relevant and useful, I hoped to generate a discussion around this topic and I'm certainly not disappointed with all the thoughtful and relevant opinions and contributions made here.

This is yet another wonderful work from @adsactly.

No doubting the fact that the Paradigm must Shift if the Spiraling World Population must be fed. InsectsProduction and Processing is the Best Option as Chronicled in this Article.
They are laden with High Quality Protein and Low Cholesterol Sources of Energy.

But It Should be known that Feeding on Insects has been; as most Communities in my Country, Nigeria do regularly, especially during Insects Annual Nuptial Flights.

The Predominant insects ,as Delicacies are Locusts and Crickets!!

...with the world population growing exponentially and resources becoming increasingly scarce, there is a real possibility that we will need to make drastic changes to our diet...

I agree! I hope it doesn’t come, but with time passing by and watching what is happening around us, I can see it happening much more clearer. All this droughts around the world, there is sooo much happening that at some point it’s just literally scary. It’s actually for the first time I hear about cricket flower. But after reading your article, I don’t think it’s a bad idea. As you mentioned, it has protein, it’s a great diet food and it has already reached US. If I see it on the shelves in grocery market, I will definitely give it a try. Perhaps protein bar would be a great idea for the start.

only one gallon of water per pound of crickets is needed when compared to 2000 gallons for beef.

Wow! That’s a huge diferent. As long as I possibly can, I won’t be able to give up meat. It’s not that easy, unless it’s not sold anymore. However, if the cricket food such as chips, protein bars... are available where I live, I’m definitely willing to try.

opps, i guess im just going to take veges rather than to eat those insects but if the time comes when there is scarcity of food due to population breakout or the like then maybe its the time for me to take a try, lol

·

Everybody needs protein. Beans are a good source as well as broccoli.

photography skil;s

As you mentioned in the very beginning, the majority of the people in the world (not only your readers) consider this theme repulsive, but the fact is that we need to find different sources of "food", because 8 Billion people is a lot to sustain.

Either we want it or not this solutions have to become viable, because $16 per kg is quite a bit, and I don't see people massively choosing to buy a insects instead of meat with similar or even higher prices.

·

Absolutely. Maybe the solution isn't insects but we'll have to find a more sustainable way going forward...

·
·

Yep, I agree!

·

Perhaps the price will drop. It seems like the cricket lab we read about is very sophisticated and innovative. They are already farming using efficient techniques, such as the "towers" the crickets live in, a technique also productive for farming plant based foods (strawberries for example) though I don't think foods are commercially produced using these methods that much. My point is, right now it seems a bit expensive but I think once this practice (and production) are improved/perfected and more widely used (to generate revenue) then prices will drop!

Thank you~

Cricket flour....? OMG @techblogger you have digged into a very informative post about using Cricket flour in food.
Looking at the Protein factor I can see many processing food companies mist have started to use them in their product. Just like Chirps Chirps. Not sure if they mention the ingredient properly or not. But these kind of revolution in processed food industry . I am not sure how many meat lover will give up for these Cricket flour just for their protein intake....but in case such thing introduced into our market it will be going to be backlash for such companies.there are many vegetarian who do not like such thing .
Thanks for sharing such strange thing happening around

Posted using Partiko Android

I have been known to eat a cricket or two... Thanks for sharing!
=)
/FF

Normally, to generate 1 kg of beef from cattle, 10 kg of animal feed based on plant material is required, but with food based on insects, only 1 kg is required! Definitely, the food based on insects is ALREADY a present food, and it will surely be incorporated more and more into our human diet

Hello my best friend @adsactly How are you? Your everyday post is very important. I like it your interesting food photography. thanks for sharing your beautiful life.

Hello sir how are you good hope sir every day like today's so beautiful new post i am surprised to learn a lot from your new post and can tell you so much thank you so much for posting a good food picture and writing something about food For

·

Keep working on your comment skills. Start by actually reading the material you are commenting on and adding relevant opinions or details (specific ones). This is how you will find success on the platform. Best of luck.

As a follower of @followforupvotes this post has been randomly selected and upvoted! Enjoy your upvote and have a great day!

·

Lucky!

Oh man. You missed the market in Seattle, Wa. A Mexican restaurant there has a branch at the baseball park and their most popular dish is... Fried and candied grasshoppers. Served with salsa and a half a lime. It sells out routinely. I've eaten candied grasshoppers in Mexico. Pretty darn tasty. Sweet and crunchy.

·

Man, can't believe I've missed out. I've eaten frog so I'm making my way through the food chain! Thanks.

·

Absolutely. Insect protein is becoming increasingly popular and several studies have been conducted verifying it is both safe and healthy.

Adsactly amazing post.

·

What's amazing about it?

·
·

This "Amazing" comment is amazing lol!!😄😄

·
·
·

No sir, you are amazing! Have an amazing day! This was amazing. Take care.

@techblogger, This is really an Practical subject and that is because, i really agree with your point where you said as, world population is increasing rapidly and resources are Scarce.

And at one place we can see that people are really affecting due to the lack of food and at some places people are losing the Affordability and Purchasing Power due to the Hyperinflation.

So, in my opinion the world can make an new move, but in a way it's not a new move, means we can see that many people are eating insects from ages but now we can see the adoption in numbers.

And one example we can take from the Man VS Wild TV show where he shows how to survive when we lack food and in my opinion the most of the time he ate Insects.

Wishing you an great day and stay blessed. 🙂

mini proteins

I'm fully on board with this idea. Apart from being very healthy, it is also sustainable. You said it requires less water and space. Furthermore, insects seem to be infinitely abundant. My favorite branch of entomology is myrmecology (study of ants). Think for example the weight of an ant. Now the weight of a human. How many ants would it take to equal one human? Now, did you know that the weight of all ants the world exceeds the weight of all humans?
There are even very large tree ants that are eaten in other countries.
I think it would be fun and rewarding to have an insect farm. I used to have ant farms! (Though I never "harvested" haha)
You won a much deserved resteem from me.