A new pop-up restaurant in London will be offering a five-course Thai-inspired insect feast every month, according to The Telegraph. Seb Holmes, the chef leading these events, has teamed up with the first pioneering food company to introduce insects to the British palate, fittingly called Grub.
In real terms, however, how close are we to seeing an insect-driven food market in the UK?
The short answer is increasingly closer, perhaps within a decade.
Yet to be convinced? Well, recent trends in eating habits suggest that the niches are emerging and waiting to be exploited:
- As growing numbers of Brits look to cut down on carbohydrates in their diet (around 1/4 of our population according to research group Mintel), insects could replace carb-heavy snacks for our generation of grazers .
- With recent clean eating trends prioritising gluten-free approaches to food, insect flour could prove to be the high protein powder addition or base for specialty foods.
- From an environmental perspective, insect production is far less resource-intensive than traditional livestock, poultry or even fish farming, with comparable (or greater) returns in protein content, vitamins and nutrients.
In a marketplace that’s demanding sustainable food, ethically sourced and produced locally, that provides optimal levels of desirable nutrients, the case for insects is compelling.
When it comes to processing, however, as a food source and raw ingredient insects still represent a challenge. High levels of environmental contamination and the fragile forms of crickets for instance means that these cannot simply be treated in the same manner as more hardy grains or nuts.
One option in the marketplace that leads the way in decontamination, roasting & toasting is the Revtech patented heat treatment system. Decontamination is achieved using the Joule effect, comprising a combination of dry radiant heat with a steam cycle. Using vibratory spirals to move product in a series of ‘micro’ jumps that are precisely calibrated through the machines sterilisation and cooling towers achieves a high kill count and consistent treatment. Revtech requires only small amounts of steam, which ensures that the organoleptic properties of the original foodstuff are preserved with no visible difference between sterilised and untreated product.
To find out more about the processing possibilities that meet the challenge of new and unusual ingredients, get in touch with Holmach on 01780 749097.