The first step, the primary critical task, in creating delicious popular food products for market success, is using quality ingredients. Quality ingredients depend on utilizing the best processing methodologies and technologies. Any raw material, no matter how premium or expensive, can be ruined by using bad or ineffective processing. Alternatively, even less than top quality raw materials can be made into amazing ingredients and food products if the best processing techniques and equipment are used.
All Things Bugs LLC cut it’s teeth on development of the best insect processing and insect based ingredient technologies–some of which are now patented. The company’s first research was to develop insect-based food products and ingredients/processing to adapt insects to the high quality, scalability and efficiency of a protein ingredient expected by the food industry. Prior to our work, the few who were making food products using insects as an ingredient were either using whole insects, or roasting them with high eat and then grinding them. Use of whole insects is only useful for a few novelty type products and restaurant dishes. They do not flow well through at-scale food processing equipment like powders and liquids do. Also, the use of whole insects exacerbates the “yuck factor”, further reducing the marketability of insect based foods. Roasting insects as a method to dry them requires very high heat, which destroys the quality of the product. Insects are designed by nature to resist desiccation and keep their water inside. Roasting them badly denatures their proteins in a way that cannot be reconstituted, it causes the proteins to stick permanently to the chitin exoskeleton to form a hard “shellack” material which is difficult to grind finely and roasting also leaches out or destroys beneficial nutrients such as healthy fats, oils and vitamins. Additionally, roasting insects to dry them greatly reduces the shelf-life of any product made from them due to heat destruction of the fats and oils, proteins, nutrients and other compounds in the insects–in particular, the fats and oils of roasted insects go rancid faster, as the process itself imparts substantial oxidation before the product even hits the shelf.
The good news is: All Things Bugs LLC’s patented insect spray drying technologies alleviate all of the problems with drying insects via roasting! Our process, used to manufacture our Griopro® cricket powder starts by grinding the insects into a slurry, liquid or paste. This exposes the moisture inside the insects so that it can be more efficiently and effectively evaporated using lower levels of heat / lower temperatures. We then gently pasteurize the product in order to kill any pathogens which may be in the raw farm raised insects–a “kill step” which is required for any food raw material, and all food materials contain bacteria. Once micro levels have been reduced to very low acceptable levels, the slurry is dried using a technique called “spray drying”. This is the most desirable, scalable, cost effective and product-safe method of drying used in the food industry, particularly for protein ingredients and powders. Spray drying is the preferred method of producing a powder ingredient in the food industry–any product which can be spray dried successfully is spray dried as the preferred drying method. Spray drying works by atomizing (“spraying”) a liquid or slurry material into fine droplets while blowing/circulating those droplets through warm air. As they fall through the vortex of warm air, the moisture rapidly evaporates leaving only fine particles of solid which is your desired powder ingredient. This process not only uses high efficiency to dry the material, the droplets experience evaporative cooling while drying which further reduces their exposure to heat. What’s more, the fats, oils and other nutrients in spray dried insect powder are micro encapsulated (eg: PROTECTED) inside particles of protein, which further extends shelf life. Also, a spray dried insect powder made from a homogenized insect slurry guarantees product consistency, so that every scoop of product is identical to the next. Spray drying also removes more undesirable aroma compounds/notes than other drying methods. It produces a fine, flowable powder with light color, mild aroma, and mild flavor that blends better with other ingredients and into your products better than insect powder made using any other method.
While our current patented methodologies are the best in the business, we continue to innovate! We are always working on improving our process to make it more efficient and cost effective. Additionally, we have ongoing research projects to produce other novel ingredients made from farm raised insects. As a Biochemist, extraction technology is literally All Things Bugs LLC founder Dr. Aaron T. Dossey’s BREAD and BUTTER! The laboratory of All Things Bugs is developing efficient protein extraction and defatting methodologies to produce high quality insect based protein extracts, isolates, healthy oils and a variety of other insect based food ingredients!
Contact us if you are interested in utilizing our Griopro® cricket powder (the highest quality in the industry by far!) to improve your products or would like to partner or collaborate with us on new ventures or research!