House crickets have recently been officially approved for consumption in Europe. Thanks to the nutrients they contain, insect meal obtained from crickets is well suited for the preparation of foods such as burger patties, cookies or pasta products. As a whole, dried edible insect, Acheta domesticus enriches the palette of healthy snacks.
With the EU Commission's decision of February 11, 2022, crickets are among the first officially approved edible insects in Europe. The Commission is thus following the assessment by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) that house crickets are safe for human consumption.
Crickets are a healthy food source
In Germany, crickets have been included as a novel foodstuff in various products for some time now - for example, various start-ups offer noodles, falafels, pasta sauces and, more recently, cricket-based spread. Since the insects are contained here in processed form, such products are marketed easier in than whole dried snack insects for example This is because in our part of the world not all people are yet convinced to recognize insects as part of our diet.
It can't be because of the nutrients they contain - because they are qualitatively equivalent to ingredients that are present in meat. Powder derived from dried crickets even contains up to 70 percent protein - including all the essential amino acids. In addition, there are important trace elements and minerals - in the case of crickets, mainly iron and calcium - as well as many unsaturated omega-6 fatty acids and important B vitamins (B2 and B12).
Numerous tastings show that if crickets are included in "As Known as" foods - for example, as an alternative source of protein in the burger patty - then many people become more interested in trying insect products. The insects themselves have a neutral to mildly nutty flavor that rounds out the finely flavored foods.
Since rearing edible insects also saves important natural raw materials compared to traditional animal husbandry, many people are enthusiastic about the new nutritional approach after a positive "cricket eating experience."
As with all insect-based foods, for cricket products must be considered that for people who are allergic to seafood and shellfish, or even dust mites, there is a comparable allergenic potential.
Still a niche product here - high demand in Asia
In Asian countries, crickets such as Acheta domesticus have been considered a valuable and easily digestible food for a very long time. In Thailand alone, there are more than 20,000 registered breeding farms. The edible insects are now in such high demand there that a multi-million-dollar market has developed over the last few decades.
- NationalGeographic.de: Insekten als Nahrungsmittel: Die Proteinquelle der Zukunft? https://www.nationalgeographic.de/umwelt/2021/12/insekten-als-nahrungsmittel-die-proteinquelle-der-zukunft, Jan. 2022.
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO): Six-legged livestock: edible insect farming, collection and marketing in Thailand. https://www.fao.org/publications/card/en/c/76e0a383-3ca0-5a7c-8d5a-b3a4262b857f/