That's what you may be saying to yourself if you've seen the news recently. Cricket powder has gone mainstream as it hit Canadian shelves this week.
The idea of eating bugs may be new to you, but entomophagy (the consumption of insects) is actually a common practice that has been taking place for tens of thousands of years! It's estimated that insects are part of the traditional diets of around 2 billion people. There are more than 1,900 edible insect species and the most commonly eaten bugs are beetles, caterpillars, bees, wasps, ants, grasshoppers and you guessed it, cricket.
If you really think about it, it's not even that big of a stretch. Bugs are arthropods (they don't have an internal skeleton) and are closely related to crustaceans* like shrimp, crab, crawfish and lobster. So crustaceans are really just bugs of the ocean. Also, consider the fact that honey only becomes honey after nectar from the flowers is passed mouth-to-mouth from bee to bee. So if you really think about it, you've been an entomophagist most of your life.
But seriously, what's so great about cricket powder?
Crickets have a myriad of health and performance benefits, while also being eco-friendly. Let's first look at some of the health and performance benefits:
Consuming insects is also more environmentally friendly. The resources required to produce 10 grams of cricket powder are 12 times less than the resources needed to produce 10 grams of beef protein. Crickets also require less land and water and produce fewer green house gas emissions than traditionally farmed animals. Over the span of a year, if a family of four ate one meal a week using cricket (or insect) protein, they would save the earth 650,000 litres of fresh water.
I'm sure what you're really wondering though, is how they taste. Well, I haven't actually summoned up the courage to try cricket powder myself (although it is on my to-do list). I'm told that cricket powder adds a subtle nutty/earthy flavour...so maybe if someone just told me it was a nut I wouldn't even think twice.
So, what do you think? Can you get behind these bugs in the grocery aisle?
* A word of caution, people who are allergic to crustaceans and shellfish may have an allergic reaction to crickets. Additionally, if you have a pre-disposed allergy to insect bites or stings you should proceed with caution.
Writer: Stephanie MacNeill (RD)