The year got off to a flying (/hopping/buzzing) start when edible insects were declared to be one of the key food trends forecasted for 2017, and just to drive the point home...
...Angelina Jolie did her bit for edible insect endorsement with these words of wisdom “The first thing I ate was crickets with beer and that’s when you can try tarantulas…They actually have a very good flavour” (But which, Angelina? Let's assume all three - crickets, tarantulas and beer alike.)
BUGS the film was released for public consumption..It’s now available online for download or streaming, and is a visual and intellectual feast, with a good dose of humour thrown in. Get it here.
Also in March
Fried grasshoppers (chapulines, Oaxaca-style, to the insect connoisseur) were a sell out snack at the Seattle Mariners’ new Safeco stadium.
The beautiful “On Eating Insects” was published by Phaidon - an exquisite travel journal and intricate recipe book from the Nordic Food Lab.
Protix - which breeds insects for use in animal feed - secured €45m worth of funding to expand operations, while in Shanghai a man ate over a kg of edible insects in under 5 minutes, winning a 24k gold bar for his efforts.
A new EU regulation permitting the use of insects in aquaculture feed came into effect.
Bug Grub Couple was first aired on BBC1: The inspirational Sarah Beynon (scientist) and Andy Holcroft (chef) unite their passions for insects and food with a scientific/culinary enterprise in Wales. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s up on iPlayer for a few more days.
Also in August
The Swiss Coop launched its range of insect-based food, made by Essento.
Meanwhile in Western Australia a cricket farm - which feeds its crickets on “recycled food waste, fruit and vegetable scraps” - was given the go-ahead to start selling its insects as food.
Finland, Europe’s greatest consumer of coffee (coincidence? they do say coffee boosts brain function), became the fifth European country to allow the sale of edible insects in stores, leading to a flurry of Finnish insect products hitting the shelves, including
- Cricket bread by Fazer
- ‘Patties, sausages and pasta’ by Mattila
- Drone larvae by beekeepers
All of which no doubt inspired the founding of Europe’s largest insect rearing plant in Finland, which will begin production in spring 2018.
Also in September
The 2-day INSECTA conference was held in Berlin
The 3-day Brooklyn Bugs meeting was held in New York
Cricket Man launched Ento Nation, an ento-taining podcast that features interviews with different representatives of the insect-eating world, and always includes a recipe.
This isn't a highlight, but is very important for anyone concerned with insects - a study based on long-term data at protected sites in Germany showed that flying insect populations have dropped by 75% during the course of the past 27 yrs, for no apparent reason. Something about the modern world is doing more damage to the ecosystems around us than we had previously realised...
..but let's end this on a very positive note - after presenting at the Global Food Security conference in South Africa, the Global Orphan Foundation got a great deal of well-deserved coverage for its work, in partnership with Farms for Orphans, training Congolese orphanages in insect-rearing so that they have access to a reliable source of protein.
With our collective optimism firmly established (I hope) here are a few things to look forward to in 2018…
The second Insects to Feed the World conference will be held in Wuhan, China, in May
Ento Nation promise a magazine to accompany their excellent podcast
Julie Lesnik's book on the role of edible insects in human evolution will be available to buy from July 22nd - pre-order is available here
"Edible insects: the value chain", a 2-day symposium, will be held in Ede to celebrate 10yrs of insect research in the Netherlands
With thanks to: