Insects have always been part of the human diet. It is a healthy alternative, an alternative source of protein and is trend-setting to curb factory farming and global warming.
Start-ups, producers, food retailers and gastronomy use the recent approval of the dried larva of the mealworm (Tenebrio Molitor) and the safety assessment of the locust (Locusta Migratoria) by the European Commission as official food: Snacks from crickets, beetles and the like should finally be taken out of their niche existence and ensure a more sustainable, healthier and more environmentally conscious diet for consumers. As a driver, the catering industry, with its usual love of experimentation and a passion for innovation, puts important impulses on the plate when it comes to the use of insects. The food retail sector is also more open to the listing and sale of novel food products.
Hanni Rützler states in the Food Report 2022:
“… The eaters of the future will not eat vegan, but rather rely on numerous different food and nutrient sources and through this diversity an ethically and socially just, healthy, ecological and sustainable one Track Diet: You will eat fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes, mushrooms, algae and herbs, plant based food and the “good”, the “wild” and the “whole” animals, as well as products made from insects or from nutrients that obtained by fermentation from microorganisms … “.
There is no doubt that foods made from mealworms, crickets or beetles will be on the menu of consumers in the near future, thus closing a conscious, forward-looking and, above all, tasty food gap between meat consumption and veganism.
According to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), 2.5 billion people worldwide currently consume insects, mainly in Asia, Africa and Latin America. But restaurants such as the “Archipelago” in London, “Crossfields Australian Pub” in Vienna or the “Australian Bar & Kitchen” in Nuremberg already have insects on their menus. Because one thing is clear: the world population is growing steadily, the need for food and animal proteins goes hand in hand with it. Snails and insects can make an important contribution, because they score with a high feed conversion efficiency, cause only small amounts of greenhouse gases and water consumption and have a different pain perception. The nutrient balance can easily keep up with that of meat and fish. A look at the past few years shows that eating habits are changing rapidly in a globalized world, such as the acceptance of raw fish in the form of sushi. In the long term, insects only have a chance if the taste and presentation are convincing.
Since 2017, insect cook Nicole Sartirani and her business partner Diego Castro have been working diligently with their catering company “MikroKosmos Berlin” to make food insects better known throughout Germany with the aim of inspiring people with their culinary creations and bringing them closer to the great added value of insects on their menu:
“Every further approval of novel foods made from insects, in accordance with the Novel Food Regulation, helps us to gain more trust from consumers. We notice that attention and curiosity about the topic are increasing, but the journey is still long until insects, like tofu or sushi, are integrated into everyday Western dishes.”
For the end consumer, for example, the Viennese company “Zirp Insects” offers an easy way to get started with ready-made products and baking mixes that range from soups to risotto and pancakes.
With around 2000 edible insect species to be discovered, a world of textures and tastes opens up that we should definitely get to know.