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Food Food Insects

Insects as #food? A new #agriculture is being created and it's better for the climate too!

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by: Moon Apple
Insects as #food? A new #agriculture is being created and it's better for the climate too!

Eating insects? We will have to.

Small mealworms lie in a bed of lettuce on a roll, pesto garnishes that special combination. In Rotterdam ‘het Boekenbal’ (Literary book presentation), nature was the theme recently, hence the insect snacks. The visitors hesitated first, but afterwards they ate the ‘insect bites’ curiously.

A few years ago, it was a matter of digging up an earthworm or a beetle. Many people were horrified by the idea. Those who dared to let the animal disappear into the mouth could count on admiration, but also on reactions of horror.
Man eating a worm
It will take some time before insect snacks are no longer a party joke or cause horror.

But the image of the unhygienic, annoying creatures can change. Since the beginning of the year, in the European Union the Novel Food legislation 2015/2283 applies which makes it possible to grow and process insects for human nutrition.
The European market for the application of insects for human nutrition is still a niche market. But some start-ups are in the starting blocks and see great potential. Furniture giant Ikea and its Space10 laboratory are also on the scene. Last month it was announced that the Swedish company wants to make mealworm balls and a Bug Burger.
The German Bugfoundation already has a lot of experience. The founders Baris Özel and Max Krämer sell since 2016 in Belgium and since 2017 in the Netherlands their Bux Burger - hamburgers based on buffaloworm. A ticket on the Bugfoundation website shows that you can buy the insect snacks in cities like Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Utrecht or The Hague.

Insect Burger with bread and letuce

Photo by: the Bugfoundation

Buffalo worm

Buffalo worm, how does that taste? Özel: The animal has a nutty aroma, such as sunflower oil. '' The burgers contain a lot of proteins, unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins and minerals such as iron, magnesium and zinc. The worms come from Proti-Farm in Ermelo where thousands of animals live in plastic containers. But compared to intensive livestock farming, Proti-Farm does not use antibiotics or hormones, explains founder Heidi de Bruin: "We have not had any diseases in the insects yet."
The Netherlands is already one of the largest insect producers in the world. In our country there are already three large companies and several smaller ones that produce, says Marcel Dicke, ecological entomologist at Wageningen University. "The companies invest tens of millions. A new agriculture is being created and the Netherlands has a leading position in this.''

World population

According to the scientist, insects are the food of the future. They can solve a big problem. In 2050, for example, the world population will grow to about 9 to 10 billion people. 70 percent more food will then be needed. "If we also want to achieve an increase in animal protein, then that is not possible through an expansion of the current production of meat," says Marcel Dicke. "Fortunately, there are excellent alternatives and insects are part of that."
Breeding insects is more sustainable than meat production. According to a study by the United Nations, for example, a kilogram of meat from crickets requires only about two kilograms of feed. In pigs four times as much food is needed, in cows it is even twelve times more.

Climate change

"The production of insects is also good with regard to climate change," said Marcel Dicke. "Per kilogram of product, the production of beef leads to more than 100 times more greenhouse gas emissions."
Man eating insects on Piza
Photo by: ANP. An insect pizza, made with mozzarella, tomato, cumin, mealworms, and the larvae of zophobas morio beetles 

Insect food buying on the internet

In the Netherlands, consumers can buy insect snacks in delicatessens, health food stores or via the internet. They mainly reach environmentally conscious customers who are looking for the balance between responsibility for health, love for animals and hunger for meat. Already according to the Nutrition Center, 55 percent of people in the Netherlands eat no meat three days a week or more often. Marcel Dicke also sees a constant increase in the acceptance of insects. "It is also important that there are products on the market that the consumer likes."

Interesting market

The Bux Burger of the Bugfoundation is just the beginning. How interesting the market is, shows a view across the Atlantic. In the US, some well-known people have invested in start-ups for insects. Ariel Zuckerberg, the sister of Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg, gave a company that develops the technology behind the cultivation of insects a money injection. And billionaire Mark Cuban invested in a protein bar that is made from insects.

Recipe savory insect cake (for 8 people)

For the dough

  • 150 g of flour
  • 1 bag of dried yeast
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of caster sugar
  • 50 g butter (and a bit to spread the baking tin)
  • 1 egg
  • 60 ml of milk
  • For the filling
  • 25 g mealworms
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1/2 leek, in strips
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, pressed
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • For the cream-egg mixture
  • 2 dl whipped cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 50 g of old cheese, grated
  • quiche shape with a diameter of 25 cm

Put all the ingredients for the dough in a bowl and knead into a smooth dough. Form the dough into a ball and let rise for 15 minutes, covered and in a warm place. Chop the mealworms into small pieces. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the mealworms, onion, leek, paprika and garlic in about 2 minutes without coloring. Add the curry powder and cook for 1 minute. Then let it cool down. Mix all ingredients for the cream-egg mixture in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 180 ºC.

Roll out the dough into a round thin slice, use a little flour to prevent sticking. Coat the baking tin with butter and coat it with the dough. Spread the filling evenly over the mold and pour the cream mixture over it. Bake the cake in the middle of the oven for 40 minutes.

Jana Hannemann

Cover photo: huffingtonpost.com

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I'm interested in everything that has to do with sustainability. My house is solar powered and I have my own water supply and filtering system.  I grow my own vegetables and fruit. Most of the time I go on the road by bicycle and for long distances I use public transport.  
I'm interested in everything that has to do with sustainability. My house is solar powered and I have my own water supply and filtering system.  I grow my own vegetables and fruit. Most of the time I go on the road by bicycle and for long distances I use public transport.  
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