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Environment

London Takeaway Chain Becomes First in Britain to Sell Edible Insects


Why Global Citizens Should Care
While 815 million people suffer from chronic undernourishment, there’s a underused food source just waiting to save the day: insects. It’s a healthy addition to your diet and fabulous for the planet — and can help us achieve Global Goals 2 and 13 for zero hunger and climate action. Take action here to tackle malnutrition in the world’s most vulnerable communities.

“I don’t like crickets. I love it!”

OK, so 10cc’s “Dreadlock Holiday”wasn’t exactly about insects. But the UK No. 1 reggae hit was about exploring a new, unfamiliar place — and that’s what the case for an alternative diet is all about.

It’s such uncharted territory that a chain of takeaway food outlets just reportedly became the first in Britain to make an important leap forward: adding insects to its daily menu.

Abokado says it prides itself for sustainability and making people feel good — so much so that it launched its recent breakfast menu after working with a psychologist from the Institute of Happiness in Australia to work out how brekkie can improve your well-being.

Now, the 23-outlet strong London-based chain will add crunchy roasted crickets to its updated spring menu on Tuesday, according to the Guardian. The sweet chili and lime-flavoured treat from UK food brand Eat Grub is available as a topping to salads or hotpots, or as a standalone snack bag.

Eat Grub’s roasted crickets can already be found in Sainsbury’s — which became the first UK supermarket to stock insects last November, selling over 10,000 packs in its first three months last year. There are now over 700 outlets across Europe that sell insect products from the London-based food startup. 

Abokado will also be offering free samples of the roasted crickets across its stores.

“It’s great to have Abokado supporting us in spreading the grub love; the fun way they approach food and innovation is exactly what we need to make eating insects more mainstream,” said Shami Radia, co-founder of Eat Grub.

Read More: Selfridges Now Sells Insects in Its Food Halls — Including Pasta Made From Worms

Kara Alderin, Abokado’s managing director, commented that the crickets were “quirky, but packed with flavour and protein,” and are “the way forward in healthy, sustainable snacking”.

Crickets can also be found in certain protein bars sold exclusively by UK department store Selfridges. Its range of insect-based snacks include pasta and granola made from buffalo worm flour, and ants covered in dark chocolate.

It’s good for you too: French food brand Jimini’s reports that there is twice as much iron in crickets than in spinach.

Adding insects to your diet is known as entomophagy.

Although Europe is home to only 2% of the world’s edible insects and therefore lacks the culinary history of embracing creepy crawlies, according to the New York Times, urban startups have recently struck gold with lucrative investment deals.

Indeed, Justin Timberlake and Angelina Jolie are among the stars that have reportedly served insects to impress guests. Jolie once said that insects are best served with beer.

It’s all for a vital mission. Scientists united on Jan. 16 to promote a “planetary health diet” to avoid environmental catastrophe: advising people to massively reduce red meat consumption, get most protein from pulses and nuts, and ensure half of any plate is made up of fruit and veg.

And, in terms of eating to help ensure a healthy planet, insects could be the way forward. 

Insects take up far less space, can take up fewer resources, waste less water, and emit 99% less greenhouse gases than cows, according to Jimini. Moreover, 815 million people suffer from chronic undernourishment — and insects could become an increasingly valuable source of protein and other important nutrients.

There are more than 1,900 edible insect species on Earth, according to a report released by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in 2013, with over 2 billion people already eating them on a regular basis. The global edible insect market is set to be worth over £395 million by 2023.