The Untold Truth Of Cricket Flour

Given the fact that livestock animals like cows are one of the leading causes of climate change (via The New York Times), a number of scientists, researchers, and activists have called for humans to cut back drastically on their meat consumption. On top of that, issues with the world's meat industry have also been exposed in recent months as well, with supply chain issues hitting some of the country's most established meat producers such as Tyson Foods and Smithfield Farms (via Food Processing).

There are plenty of people who think that the answer to the world's meat problems is plant-based alternatives. Examples of these products include things like the Impossible Burger and faux products made out of pea proteins by Beyond Meat. These products have been phenomenally successful with Beyond Meat's market capitalization being calculated in the neighborhood of almost $14 billion as of last year (via CNBC).

However, there's another school of thought out there that prompts a different meat alternative: bugs.

Production and uses of cricket flour

Cricket flour is something of a misnomer, but you get the idea. It's a flour-like substance made out of crickets that can be used to cook. Everything from energy bars to cricket pasta has been produced commercially from the substance (via NPR, Bugsolutely). While the preparation method varies from company to company, it tends to involve some combination of drying, cooking, and grinding crickets.

Making a wide variety of dishes at home is also possible with the substance. One of the largest producers of cricket flour is a company called Griopro, which provides a number of recipe suggestions from cricket powder taco meat, to cricket powder fortified pizza dough, to cricket powder gingerbread cookies, to sprouted almond walnut cacao coconut cricket power balls (via Cricket Powder).

Griopro sources all of its crickets from American cricket farms, where they're fed all-grain diets (without any wheat so that the resulting product can be marketed as gluten-free).

Why cricket flour could help the world

Though the idea of cricket flour comes off as a bit "out there," logic backs the idea up. According to a purveyor of the stuff, "Insects are probably the most sustainable form of protein we have on earth. The only real barrier to Americans eating insects is a cultural taboo." Indeed, in many other countries, bugs are a common part of the diet, even a delicacy. In Mexico, crickets are widely consumed (via The Spruce Eats), and in Thailand they're enjoyed as a beer snack, like peanuts or pretzels might be in the United States (via Visit Bangkok).

On top of that, the bugs are incredibly nutritious, containing everything from vitamin B, to iron, to amino acids, to calcium, to potassium (via Farmers' Almanac).

There are some who even believe that cricket flour could aiding famines in different parts of the globe. In fact, Griopro won a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant for working on a way to alleviate malnutrition in children (via Cricket Powder). An advantage to promoting crickets as a food source is that large amounts of land aren't needed, and they require much less water than beef. Because it's currently being made on an artisanal scale, however, prices are actually quite high, in the neighborhood of $35 per pound.