Last Updated on May 21, 2021 by Gaia Zol
Crickets are on the menu at this Italian farm that looks at the future.
The Italian Cricket Farm of Scaleghe, in the region of Piedmont, raises crickets as pet food. But the goal is to put on people’s tables. Indeed, it’s the insects on the menu idea.
Inside the Italian Cricket Farm
The specific breed is the Acheta domesticus cricket. This species is a protein food source, an example of insects on the menu. Also, the farm sells flour moths, kaimani, locusts, and honey worms. Each and every insect eats only organic food, approved and selected with care by professionals. Plus, there are no viruses nor bacteria.
Nutritional and organic
Some of the products of the farm are the foods for pets. In fact, they are hypoallergenic, hence ideal for dogs and cats. Also, insects on the menu for animals are ideal for fish, especially the flour. And reptiles and amphibians also benefit from this diet. Since they are delicate animals that need organic and virus-free food, insects are ideal.
Crickets have 69% of protein value. They are also rich in calcium, iron, and vitamin B12. Thanks to these values, the Cricket Farms recommends using the 10% of cricket flour. It’s great for both baking and nutritional shakes. Indeed, a true miracle of food.
Ivan Albano is the CEO of the Cricket Farm, “we don’t want to substitute meat with insects. But we want a sustainable future with proteins that can come from insects. Simply, because otherwise there won’t be enough protein foods to feed everyone,” Albano said.
Do they taste good? You only have to try to find out. Perhaps the crickets will pair well with the Italian Craft Cocktail.
Insects on the menu, the situation in Italy
Also called “Novel food,” insects have made a step forward to be on the menu. In fact, the European Food Authority has recently the use of insects for nutrition. The European organization deemed these sources as “safe” and the next move is up to the Commission, which will leave regulations up to single countries. The specific insect is the mealworm larva, also used to produce flour.
But are Italians ready?
According to the Italian association Coldiretti, they aren’t. In particular, 54% of Italians believe insects are foreign to the country’s culinary tradition. To convince Italians, there are projects like the Italian Cricket Farm.
And the laboratory at the Istituto agrario Cantoni, a school in the province of Verona. Here, professor Claudia Tondolo is teaching innovative techniques to her students, who have grown to love crickets. While the lab’s research stays in the lab and these insects don’t go on the menu, the research can be useful to future farms.
”With a tiny bit of cricket flour paired with the corn flour,” said Tondolo, “we baked a focaccia full of protein. With a bit of oil and salt, it’s as nutritious as a grilled steak. But the cricket flour is also great for cakes and cookies.” Indeed, nutritional and delicious.
The benefits of having insects on the menu
While Italians might not be ready for insects on the menu, their benefits are indubitable. In fact, insects aren’t just rich in protein. They are also eco-friendly. Breeding them doesn’t waste as much water as other animals, like pigs or cows. And they can be the answer to food shortage.
The FAO estimates that by 2050, the global food demand will grow by 70%. So, it is necessary to find a sustainable and nutritious alternative. One that doesn’t affect the environment and that can actually feed people. Hence, insects on the menu.
And you, are curious or disgusted?