Here’s an interesting alternative to Meat Free Monday: edible insects. With the human population continuing to grow and Earth’s resources dwindling, it’s never been more important to find sustainable food sources. So could you handle a protein bar made of bugs?
Vegans have long argued that a vegan diet has reduces our impact on the environment, since the production of meat and other animal products carries a heavy burden, from crops and water required to feed the animals, to the transport and other processes involved from farm to fork.
According to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), livestock production accounts for 70% of all agricultural land and 30% of the planet’s total surface area. By 2050 the world’s population will rise to 9 billion, which means that in order to satisfy demand for the world’s meat consumption we will need to double protein production.
One possible solution is insects. Although small, they offer a high level and far more sustainable form of protein. The FAO’s report also estimates that insects already form part of the diets of at least 2 billion people worldwide.
But are they for us squeamish Brits who recoil in horror at I’m A Celebrity’s Bush Tucker Trials?
Co-founders of JIMINI’S, Bastien and Clément, spotting the health and environmental benefits of insect consumption, made it their mission to integrate insects into the diets of Europeans as well as educate and inform shoppers of this sustainable and, thanks to them, tasty alternative source of protein.
In addition to obvious environmental plusses, eating insects also has recognised health benefits. Jimini’s edible insects contain high quality protein and calcium with levels comparable to beef and milk. Its ground cricket flour, which is the base of their protein bars, contains 63% protein, more iron than spinach and more calcium than milk.
So perhaps ease yourself in gently with a Dried Fruit & Nut Almond bar with ground cricket flour. Available in banana & dark chocolate, apricot, goji and chia, apple & cinnamon and dark chocolate & fig flavours, each bar is made using cricket flour, is full of antioxidants, a natural source of iron and protein, high in fibre and dairy and gluten free (with the exception of the apple & cinnamon bars which may contain traces of milk in the caramel).
Undemanding of water and nutrients, insect farming requires very few raw materials in comparison to animal farming which heavily demands large amounts of land and high levels of raw materials. We are able to eat between 80-100% of insects bred, whereas we only eat 40-60% of cows and others livestock. Insects have a high food conversion rate, for instance crickets need six times less feed than cattle, four times less than sheep, and twice less than pigs and chickens to produce the same amount of protein.
For the full range of insect snacks, protein bars and cooking ingredients, see jiminis.co.uk