The food of the future is here: it’s baked in Finland, and it contains about 70 crickets.
Bakeries are usually warm, cozy places, filled with pleasant, inviting scents. But if you were to visit one of Fazer’s bakeries in Finland, you might come across something else. The company has developed a new type of bread, which includes crickets for extra protein and nutrients.
“It offers consumers with a good protein source and also gives them an easy way to familiarize themselves with insect-based food,” said Juhani Sibakov, head of innovation at Fazer Bakeries.
“We made a crunchy dough to enhance taste and increase mouthfeel. The result is delicious and nutritious. Cricket bread is a good source of protein. Insects also contain good fatty acids, calcium, iron and vitamin B12.”
Fazer took advantage of a recent change in national legislation: Finland, along with five other countries (Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Denmark) removed a ban on insect use in the food industry, effectively allowing insects to be raised and marketed for food use. Sibakov said they had the bread ready since last summer, but they had to wait for the legislation to be passed before the bread could hit the shelves.
Each loaf contains crickets which have been dried, ground, and mixed with flour, wheat, and other seeds. Sara Koivisto, a student from Helsinki who tried the bread, told Reuters that “I don’t taste the difference … It tastes like bread.”
Whether or not other consumers will have the same opinion remains to be seen, but for now, Fazer, who has a sales figure of about 1.6 billion euros last year, plans to sell it in all 47 of its stores by next year. The price is €3.99 ($4.74), compared with €2-3 for a regular wheat loaf. However, in order for that to happen, they need to import more crickets, which they are currently bringing from the Netherlands.
Insects are commonly eaten in many parts of the world, with the UN listing more than 1,900 edible species that are eaten by 2 billion people. However, in the West, the idea of eating insects is just recently gaining traction, particularly among those seeking a gluten-free diet or wanting to protect the environment. Farming insects is touted as being less energy and water intensive, while also requiring less land. For instance, production of 150g of grasshopper meat requires just a few liters of water, while cattle requires 3290 liters to produce the same amount of beef. Fazer says that the cricket bread could be an easy way to accustom Western clients with insect-based food.