Grub: the future of food?

Here at Vada we like to keep abreast of the latest trends and try to imagine what lies on the horizon, but insect snacks is one trend we had never anticipated – at least, not here in the UK.

As anyone with a vegetarian friend will know, livestock farming is a rather unsustainable process. Animals are mainly fed on soya, which costs up to £1,000 a ton, with as much as 25kg of soya needed to produce 1kg of beef. Only 2% of the soya we need for UK-reared animals is produced at home – meaning we rely on international imports, where meat consumption has increased 20-fold in 40 years, and continues to rise.

That’s why experts across Europe anticipate that the solution to our looming protein crisis lies in scoffing grub – that is, insects.

Outside of Europe, this might seem like less of a shocking prospect. Indeed, 80% of the global population eats insects, so we’re rather behind on this front. Although, arguably, things like prawns and crayfish are pretty damn close.

Insects are, as it happens, a great source of protein, and is less fatty than fish and red meat. Around 50% of an insect comprises protein, and they contain polyunsaturated fatty acids and high levels of vitamins and minerals. Despite the initial shock factor, once you get used to how they look, they actually taste very nice too.

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The Eat Grub Bar

Chef Seb Holmes, who was formerly Head Chef of The Smoking Goat in Soho, has developed the new Eat Grub Bar to promote healthy eating and sustainable food. The Eat Grub Bar uses cricket flour to provide a protein-rich, nutritional health bar that includes organic dark chocolate for antioxidants, dried mango for vitamin A, desiccated coconut to help fight cholesterol and support function, pumpkin seeds for lowering blood pressure and boosting immunity, delicious honey with its antibacterial and antifungal properties, and the all-important cricket flour.

The crickets used in the recipe are not only high in protein, they’re also packed with calcium and iron.

We were lucky enough to try out one of the bars, which was surprisingly delicious. You wouldn’t know it contained crickets, so any squeamishness can be easily overcome, and you can enjoy the nuanced flavours on their own merits. The combination of ingredients is great and the texture is ever-so-slightly crunchy (mealy, perhaps), with a pleasant moistness that helps it avoid tasting like rabbit food.

Grub also has a number of flavoured insect snacks, including Salt & Vinegar Roasted Crickets and Dark Chocolate Cricket Nut Fudge, plus a number of packs of edible insects (crickets, mealworms and grasshoppers). We tried the Salt & Vinegar, Chilli & Lime and English Herbs Roasted Crickets – and even served them up at a dinner party, where they were scoffed down in no time before the starters.

Grub hopes the Eat Grub Bar will go on general sale in April, and has launched a Kickstarter to get it on the shelves. Supporters get goodies ranging from free bars to a specially prepared insect meal cooked by Seb Holmes in your own home.

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At around the same time, Grub will also be publishing its Ultimate Insect Cook Book and launching its own cricket-for-food farm.

For more information and to support the crowdfunding campaign, you can check out the Eat Grub Bar Kickstarter.

For insect recipes and supplies, try the Grub website.

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