This article contains content that is written like an advertisement. (April 2019)
Cricket flour (or cricket powder) is a protein-rich powder made from crickets, using various processes. Cricket flour differs from true flours made from grains by being composed mainly of protein rather than starches and dietary fiber.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, edible insects such as crickets, stick insects, cicada, termites, mealworms and grasshoppers are nutrient-rich food sources. In fact there are nearly 2,000 identified edible insect species to date. They are high in complete protein, unsaturated fat, dietary fiber, vitamins and essential minerals. Also, cricket flour contains nutrients such as the nine essential amino acids, calcium, iron, potassium, vitamin B12, B2, and fatty acids.
Food Security and Processing
In Western countries, when raised for human consumption, insects are held to the same safety standards as any other food. The Food and Drug Administration, within the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), states that “The term 'food' means (1) articles used for food or drink for man or other animals, (2) chewing gum, and (3) articles used for components of any such article.” Thus, with insects falling under said category, they must be safe and may not bear any added poisonous or added deleterious substance that is unsafe. Said items may not be prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions, and must be produced in accordance with current Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), regulations for manufacturing/processing, packing, or holding human food. The FD&C Act also includes requirements that pertain to the labeling of food and preventive controls, as applicable. Manufacturers have a responsibility to ensure that the food they produce for the United States market is safe and complies with the FD&C Act and FDA’s implementing regulations.
Processing can be done either commercially or locally depending on the popularity in a particular region. The process begins with removing the insides of the insect (optional). Then, they are shipped to become preserved or freeze dried. This is done by using hessian or polypropylene. After, they are completely preserved/dried they are shipped for storage. Insects can be refrigerated or processed into powders.
Cricket flour is made with freeze dried crickets. Then, the crickets are baked to make the processing easier. After they are baked, they are ground into very fine pieces. The freezing, baking, and drying makes a dark brown powdery texture.
Prices will vary depending on location, but the average cost of pre-made cricket flour is around $40 per pound (4,200 to 4,800 crickets). The price is high due to limited commercializing and processors. Cricket flour is sold in limited areas, but mainly online and wholesale stores.
The average prices for frozen crickets are about $9 per pound. These can be utilized in personally making cricket flour.
Food products with cricket flour
Pulverized freeze-dried crickets are used in processed food products, such as:
- snacks (chips, nachos)
Because insect consumption made its way to the United States, there are more companies using cricket flour as an ingredient.
- Aaron T. Dossey; Juan A. Morales-Ramos; M. Guadalupe Rojas, eds. (2016). Insects as Sustainable Food Ingredients: Production, Processing and Food Applications. Academic Press. ISBN 9780128028926.
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