Eating insects is finally going mainstream.
One of Canada's biggest food retailers announced yesterday that it has added cricket powder to its supermarkets. Loblaw Companies Ltd. said in a press release that this first move into sustainable insect protein answers the need for great-tasting protein produced in an environmentally friendly way. Kathlyne Ross, VP of product development and innovation, said:
"By making products like Cricket Powder widely available in our grocery stores, we are giving Canadians the option to not only try something new, but to also make a conscious decision on what they eat and how it impacts the environment."
While cricket powder is a traditional food in much of the world, it is slow to catch on in Canada and the United States, where the idea of eating insects still makes many people squeamish. When those insects are ground up into a powder, however, and can be baked into cookies or added to a smoothie, they seem more palatable.
Crickets make a lot of sense from both a nutritional and environmental perspective, but up until now have been difficult to source, unless ordered online. From the press release:
- Cricket flour is packed with vitamins and minerals. Once again, on a gram-for-gram basis cricket powder can outcompete some of our healthiest food options.
- Cricket flour, due to its neutral flavor, is actually meant to be put into lots of different recipes.
- Crickets need 12 times less feed than cattle, four times less feed than sheep, and half as much feed as pigs and broiler chickens to produce the same amount of protein.
- They require significantly less water than cattle rearing.
Loblaw's sources the cricket powder from Entomo Farms, an edible insects producer in Norwood, Ontario. Jarrod Golden, president of Entomo Farms, said:
"We are honoured to be working with the President's Choice team to bring sustainable food solutions to consumers. We are striving to take the next step to ensure innovative, inspiring and most importantly conscious food options are available for Canadians and we believe cricket powder is just scratching the surface."
This is a great move and it will be interesting to see how well the powder sells. I know that I'll be much more inclined to grab a bag of cricket powder off a shelf while shopping than to take the time to order it specially online. Again, as I've said many times, it comes down to convenience. The easier it is for shoppers to make sustainable choices, the more likely they are to do so. Loblaw's is smart to jump on the bug-wagon early.
The chain has made other forward-thinking steps in the past, adding a line of "ugly" fruits and vegetables to its produce sections, sold at reduced price in order to cut down on food waste. It also pledged to ban all plastic microbeads, triclosan, and phthalates from its stores by this year.