The majority of people avoid eating bugs whenever possible. If a fly lands on their sandwich or a caterpillar crawls across their fruit, they throw it out. One Finnish bakery is challenging the automatic disgust many feel when they think of eating insects by baking bread made with crickets.
Getting protein from insects is not unusual around the world. In some parts of central Africa, bugs make up 50% of all dietary protein consumed. Over 100 countries regularly eat over 2000 species. But to the western world, eating ants, crickets, and flies seems most unusual and is often seen as just plain nasty.
Fazer, the commercial bakery and food company in Helsinki, decided to introduce the bread because consumers are looking for more healthy protein in their diets. Finland joined the five European countries that allow raising insects for food this year. Insects use much less land and resources compared to other common animal-based protein sources.
How does the bread stack up to 100% grain-based loafs? The bakery uses toasted crickets, ground up well into a dry flour-like substance. About 70 go into each loaf. They report that the taste is no different, an opinion backed up by consumers who try it. Since the local area lacks cricket farms, production of the bread is limited. It retails for slightly more than traditional flour loaves.
Although people in sub-tropical regions have long included insects of varying types in their diets, other populations adopt the practice at a snail’s pace. This Finnish bread and other prepared insect foods being developed around the world may move bugs from “Eww, gross!” to “Mmm, yum!” At the same time, they could help preserve more open space and natural resources due to their limited farming requirements.