Eating crickets may be a little 'ick' for some but they're nutritious, and a great alternative to conventional protein sources. If you'd consider eating crickets in another 50 years because you consider the idea to be more futuristic than reality than I'm sorry to say but you may just be a little bit behind, the future is here and hopefully here to stay.
I sat down with one of the faces behind Grilo, Martina and chatted about all things crickets!
Can you tell me a little bit about Grilo and why crickets are great for the environment and human health?
We are a Byron Bay based small company born and bred out of a desire to bring better health, sustainable and future conscious foods. We are here to make a change for a better world. And that’s the reason we chose crickets. Crickets are good for us and for our Planet.
They require less land, water, feed and energy than many other traditional protein sources including beef, chicken or pork. For example, 1 kg of chicken requires 3500 litres of water and 1 kg of beef requires 22,000 litres of water while insects need far less. To produce 1kg of crickets is necessary not even 1 litre of water.
Crickets are also very healthy. They have up to 69% complete protein, all essential amino acids, lots of vitamin B12, iron and more.
You mentioned in our previous convos that your crickets are from Canada, can you describe the production process? Is there any waste products?
The crickets live in an indoor environment where they “free range”, with enough space to move around their “cricket condo”. They have access to organic feed and fresh water.
At the end of their life cycle, they are ready to be harvested. Once they are harvested, they are slowly frozen to simulate the natural process of hibernation when mature. After that, the crickets are washed, roasted and then grounded into powder. Microbial, coliform and salmonella tests are made during the production process.
Crickets are used whole, so there is no waste.
What do you love about crickets?
I'm a very conscious sustainability and environment and I also have a passion for healthy food. That's the reason I love everything about crickets. The concepts behind eating insects do fascinate me. It's good for us and also for the Planet. Perfect combo! :)
Crickets are also a future-friendly protein source. In 2050 there will be 9 billion people on Earth. And to feed all of those hungry mouths, we will need to produce almost twice as much food as we currently do. Livestock already covers 45% of the Earth's total land and the animal agriculture is responsible for 20%-33% of all freshwater consumption in the world today. By 2025 64% of the world’s population expected to live in water-stressed basins. I believe our current food system is broken and we need look for food alternatives asap.
Eating insects has occurred around the World for thousands of years, yet Australians still consider them to be 'yuck'. Do you think this perception of edible insects in changing and if so, why?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with eating insects other than people's perception.
Insects are part of the traditional diets of at least 2 billion people and it’s estimated that 1900 species of insects are eaten worldwide. So why not?
I do believe the perception of eating insects is changing over the past years. When we first started our business 2 years ago people thought we were a bit crazy. There are many information, articles and also documentaries about insects as food out there and people are getting to know more about it. There are also more companies like us trying to make insects taste delicious and convince westerns to add insect to their diets. We believe competition is a good think as it helps to create demand and boost the edible insect market around the world. It's just the beginning!
Why 'Grilo'? Where does the name come from?
"Grilo" means “cricket” in Portuguese. It also means good luck in some countries. According to the dictionary, a cricket is a brown or black insect that makes short, loud noises by rubbing its wings together. But for us it means much more than that. We believe crickets are the food of the future.
Now, what's your favourite recipe?
That's a very hard question. ;)