Cricket powder overcomes the “ick factor”
If you ask anyone what they think about eating bugs, you’d expect to get an “ick”. However, according to Jarrod Goldin, president of Entomo Farms, North America’s largest human-grade edible insect farm, that’s not actually the typical response. Especially when it comes to cricket powder.
“I think the idea of this ick factor is hyperbolic,” says Goldin. “A lot of people care about the planet and care about their health. They’re looking for solutions and if it’s something unusual and not what they’re culturally used to, they’re not automatically turned off.”
South African-born Goldin and his brothers, Darren and Ryan, are the minds behind Entomo Farms. The Norwood, Ontario-based farm raises crickets and mealworms, some of which are transformed into powder, while others are roasted and sold whole, as crunchy snacks.
They started the project because Goldin was looking for a venture the three could do together. His brothers, both entrepreneurs, owned a business raising insects for the reptile, bait and fishing trades. “We’ve always had a very strong affinity for the planet and sustainability,” Goldin mentions.
Nutrition has always been of great interest to Goldin. A chiropractor by trade, he has witnessed the disjointed relationship between health and food in North America. “In North America we’ve basically ended up with this bifurcated issue of obesity on the left and anorexia on the right with few people in the middle who are well adjusted. But I think there’s a massive paradigm shift on us and that’s changing.”
In the future, Goldin hopes that everyone will have a shaker of cricket powder as part of their kitchen essentials, sitting right there beside the salt and the pepper. “Whatever dish you’re making, whenever meal you’re making, you’re going to add a little bit of cricket powder the same way you would add a pinch of salt or a pinch of sugar.”
As for that ick factor that everyone likes to assume is the normal response to eating crickets, it’s not something that has held Goldin and his brothers back. “We drove the value proposition of health, sustainability and yummy-ness,” he explains. “If it were only whole, big fat roasted insects that people have to eat, then we probably wouldn’t have the business we have. But the idea that we create this very ubiquitous powder … is really what’s changed the game.”
cricket powder is more than a protein powder
Goldin explains: “Protein is only 60 percent of the benefit. Ground up crickets are 60 percent protein, but it’s full of prebiotic fibre, it’s full of iron, it’s full of B12, it’s full of Omegas, it’s full of all kinds of other healthy macronutrients and micronutrients. It’s food that functionally and physiologically changes your body for the better. What we call now functional food. It’s a whole functional food. So no, it’s not just protein, it’s 60 percent protein and I think there’s more value in the other 40 percent. In general, people get enough protein in North America, maybe not a sustainable protein, but they get enough protein. What they lack is fibre and nutrients that are that are highly bioavailable, so the value proposition from a nutritive perspective is much more than just protein.
“I do know that the largest impact to climate change is meat farming. If everybody reduced a little bit of their meat, their protein from meat, and maybe they chose cricket powder and alternatives, we could all change the world tomorrow. If a family of four got their protein from crickets one day a week, they would save about 750,000 litres of water a year. So a family of four, one day a week, that’s 52 times a year.
“We’re not against meat. It will never go away. But as a percentage of protein that’s eaten, if we could just hold it back a little bit, we could have a dramatic impact on climate change, a dramatic impact on our natural forests that are cut down to grow wheat, on the hearts of our arable land that are used for creating the seed to feed the food.”