Cricket flour

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Cricket flour is the misnomer term used to refer to powder made from crickets (cricket powder) using various processes.[1][2] Cricket flour differs from true flours made from grains by being composed mainly of protein rather than starches and dietary fiber.

Nutritional information[edit]

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.[3][4] Also, cricket flour contains nutrients such as the nine essential amino acids, calcium, iron, potassium, vitamin B12, B2, and fatty acids.[5]

Sustainability[edit]

Products such as cricket flour are a sustainable and environmentally-friendly source of protein. Crickets grow and reproduce quickly with little maintenance required.[3]

Insect food production requirements are based on the 'feed conversion efficiency', this measures the amount of food needed to produce for an increase in weight. Insects, like crickets, require about 1.7 kg of feed to increase weight and it takes 3100 L of water to produce 1 kg of edible cricket protein.[6][7] This is because crickets are cold blooded and rely on their environment to control metabolic processes rather than food (e.g. body temperature).

Insects are beneficial for the ecosystem. They release less greenhouse emission which is toxic for the environment.[5]

Insects are more edible. To date, one study has examined the water footprint, taking into account the entire production system, of commercially produced insects. This data showed insects are considered to be 80‐100% edible.[6]

Food Security and Processing[edit]

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.”[8] 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 (CGMP) regulations for manufacturing/processing, packing, or holding human food.[9][10] 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.[11]

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 buy using hessian or polypropylene. After, they are completely preserved/dried they are shipped for storage. Insects can be refrigerated or processed into powders.[11]

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.[5]

Cost[edit]

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).[12] The price is high due to limited commercializing and processors.[13] Cricket flour is sold in limited areas, but mainly online and wholesale stores.

The average prices for frozen crickets are about $9 per pound.[14] These can be utilized in personally making cricket flour.

Food products with cricket flour[edit]

Pulverized freeze-dried crickets are used in processed food products, such as:

  • pasta
  • bread
  • cookies
  • snacks (chips, nachos)
  • smoothies

Cricket flour can be utilized as a complete replacement for flour. The taste is very nutty, and cooking quality may change (but not by much).[5][15]

Allergies[edit]

People with shellfish allergies may need to use caution when consuming cricket flour. Also, there is a risk of pathogens with consuming raw insects.[16]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ Griopro Cricket Powder. http://www.cricketpowder.com/ Griopro.
  3. ^ a b Huis, Arnold Van (2013). "Edible Insects: Future Prospects for Food and Feed Security" (PDF). Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
  4. ^ Wilson, Charles (24 February 2015). "Cricket Nutrition". CricketFlours. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d "What the Heck is Cricket Flour?". Farmers’ Almanac. 5 June 2017. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  6. ^ "Crickets vs. Livestock – Hygiea-Health". Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  7. ^ "Edible Insects: Future prospects for food and security" (PDF).
  8. ^ "Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act" (PDF). p. 2. Retrieved 13 April 2020.
  9. ^ "Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act" (PDF). p. 5.
  10. ^ "Food Current Good Manufacturing Practice Modernization Report (2005)". Retrieved 13 April 2020.
  11. ^ a b "Edible Insects: Future prospects for food and security" (PDF).
  12. ^ "Tracking Retail Cricket Powder Prices • Slices of Blue Sky". Slices of Blue Sky. 10 February 2018. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  13. ^ Peters, Adele (21 August 2017). "This Giant Automated Cricket Farm Is Designed To Make Bugs A Mainstream Source Of Protein". Fast Company. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  14. ^ "We Need More Cricket Farmers: The Price Of Our Growing Taste For Insects". The Chicagoist. Archived from the original on 6 November 2017. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  15. ^ "Cricket Flour Recipes | Cricket Flours". Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  16. ^ "Are People Allergic to Eating Insects?".