With historic levels of biodiversity loss, a growing human population, and diets becoming increasingly protein-heavy across the world, it is now more important than ever to reduce human consumption from the earth and its ecosphere. Current sources of protein are unsustainable. Already 70% of agricultural land (thatâs 50% of land on Earth) is used for livestock. This not only disrupts natural ecosystems and food chains but also affects water supply and increases atmospheric pollution. Diversification of our food supply is critical for food security and the preservation of the environment.
The cultivation of insects as sustainable food ingredients and for biopharmaceutical solutions is creating a new class of commodities in the form of protein isolates and extracts, whole insect-based ingredients (such as cricket powder, oil, and fiber), vaccines, bioactive compounds, and more. Led by renowned researcher and industry thought leader, Dr. Aaron T. Dossey, All Things Bugs LLCâs cutting-edge research and technology in insect farming, genetics, genomics, and processing have led to revolutionary industry and product developments, including its proprietary GrioproÂ® brand Cricket Powder, which contains the highest quality insect-based ingredient on the market globally.
This new industry will inspire an interest in insects as useful creatures for bioproduction that will alter their perception as pests to be exterminated. For more on this topic, be sure to read Dr. Aaron T. Dosseyâs âInsects as Sustainable Food Ingredientsâ and relevant articles by clicking here. âInsects as Sustainable Food Ingredientsâ is an excellent resource for aspiring food or agriculture entrepreneurs, students, and Entomologists seeking information on Sustainability, Entomology, Food Science, and Agricultural Sciences. It is the first and only textbook for this emerging industry and field of science!
Why Insect Protein? The good news is farm-raised insects, such as crickets, mealworms, and others, hold promise as a sustainable, yet nearly entirely unexplored solution. They utilize less energy, feed, land, and water than other livestock and contribute less to climate change and pollution. They are gaining momentum as a food ingredient. Since about 2011, over 50 companies in North America, and 80 in Europe, offer food products with insects as key ingredients. Insects are TRULY the protein crop of the future!
Terminology is important. Unfortunately, in new industries, things move very quickly, and experts are not often consulted, so things like accuracy in terminology fall through the cracks.
âFlourâ, for instance, is an inaccurate term that confuses many consumers who then mistakenly believe they can use cricket powder the same way they would wheat flour. Whereas âfloursâ are from plants (primarily plant seeds such as grains, nuts, and other seeds) and are mostly starch, insect powder is 60-70% protein, with the remaining ingredients being oil and a little fiber, and is animal based. Thus, insect-based powders do not function the same way as flour.
The proper term for dry fine insect-based ingredients would be “powder” (e.g.: Cricket Powder, whey powder, milk powder, powdered egg, etc.). In some cases, the term âmealâ (such as âinsect mealâ) would also be acceptable for coarser products made from roasted insects (like cornmeal, fish meal, etc.). Learn more about the importance of terminology in this new industry and more about the functionality and processing of insect-based food ingredients in this article.
As we described above, insects are a much more sustainable and environmentally friendly source of protein than other animal sources. Like other animals, insects provide high a quality and complete protein source that has high nutritional value, a good amino acid profile, and excellent digestibility. Insect based ingredients work well in many different kinds of food products, so they can be very easily incorporated into oneâs diet. Insects are also rich in other nutrients such as B vitamins and calcium. Recent research has also shown crickets and mealworms to be an excellent source of highly bioavailable iron. More recently, researchers have shown that cricket powder is a potentially excellent source of fiber, creating healthy digestion and good gut microflora!
Our cricket powder is the highest quality insect-based ingredient on the market globally. Our innovations have developed a clean patent-pending process for gently grinding and drying farm raised crickets into a super fine, light-colored powder. It has the most neutral aroma and flavor of any insect powder out there and blends best with other ingredients to make numerous food and beverage products, such as pasta, baked goods, shakes, smoothies, meat extenders, puffed extruded snacks, bars, cereals, tortillas, and many others.
GrioproÂ® does not impart any grittiness to the product and can be incorporated at higher levels than other insect powders without affecting flavor, texture, aroma or overall product quality and functionality. Our process microencapsulates the fats, oils and other nutrients into tiny protein particles which are homogeneous in their makeup and consistency. We use much less heat to dry our insects than other brands, allowing GrioproÂ® to maintain a very long shelf-life. Further, GrioproÂ® maintains its neutral aroma, color and flavor throughout the life of the product. Cricket powder works very well in most products at a 10-20% incorporation level. Using insect-based ingredients provides food manufacturers with an opportunity to incorporate higher levels of animal protein into many products in a much more sustainable way.
In our product development work, including research and development of both food ingredients and food products, we have found that insect powders, such as cricket powder and mealworm powder, perform very well in many food products. We have evaluated incorporating cricket and mealworm powders into products such as puffed extruded snacks, cereals, pasta, tortillas, bars, shakes, smoothies, cookies, high protein crisps, and even insect-based meats such as sausages and taco meat (click here to view sample recipes).