Food from insects can become an alternative to conventional products and help humanity cope with hunger that has arisen due to the rapid growth of the planet’s population, they assure scientists. The world has long begun to develop alternative animal husbandry, in particular, the opening of farms for growing insects suitable for food. Such an enterprise appeared in Russia — cricket farm. However, doctors still have not come to a consensus on how food with added insects affects human health. Experts expressed their opinion in comments for Lenta.ru.
Food cricket farm opened in 2023 at Stavropol region. And it has already attracted the attention of diabetics. Manufacturers of exotic products assure: cricket flour contains a minimum of carbohydrates, which provoke spikes in blood sugar. Therefore, products made from it are safer for diabetics than products made from regular flour.
Currently, insect flour is expensive, the company’s owners do not hide. However, it is planned that over time its cost will exceed the cost of regular flour by about 20 percent.
Crickets are really good for diabetics
Nutritionist at the branch of the Israeli Hadassah Clinic in Skolkovo Anna Korobkina in a conversation with Lenta.ru, she immediately noted that we are not talking about the benefits of crickets and beetles in fried or dried form, as many imagine, but about the industrial product made from crickets – flour.
“Because cricket flour contains a minimal amount of carbohydrates, this product could potentially be useful for diabetics who have to avoid eating bread made from white wheat flour and people whose need for high-protein foods is high: the elderly, those recovering from surgery and injury, cancer patients,” noted Korobkina.
One dried cricket contains 70 percent protein. This product is especially valuable for those whose protein needs are very high, for example, athletes. It turns out that growing crickets, which consist mostly of protein, is profitable
At the same time, the nutritionist drew attention to the fact that doctors and scientists still have little experience and data to draw clear conclusions about how this product affects the human body. “We can recommend this product only when we are convinced of its absolute safety,” the nutritionist concluded.
Insect meal can be dangerous
Gastroenterologist of JSC “Medicine” (clinic of academician Roitberg) Vladimir Neronov I agreed with my colleague, noting that there is not enough experience in using cricket flour in Russia. In his opinion, it is all the more impossible to assume that it will become a full-fledged alternative to cereals.
Speaking about the harm that eating insects can cause, the doctor warned that patients with diabetes often also have pancreatitis. This disease has its limitations. They concern not only the composition of the product, but also the method of its preparation. In addition, the composition of any biological product is not constant and may depend on what raw materials are used to obtain the final product, the degree of its purification and grinding, disinfection and preservation, the professor said.
Protein in such an amount (60-70 grams per 100 grams of product) requires increased activity from the body, which not every healthy average person can provide, and even more so those who suffer from digestive disorders
Neronov also confidently stated that cricket flour is an allergenic product, which will affect its popularity in the future.
“We will monitor gourmets and amateurs to see what response they will have to taking such an exotic product. Then it will be possible to formulate a gastronomic strategy and recommend it as a therapeutic diet. While there is not enough experience, standards and recipes, everything related to the use of crickets in food is just an exotic experiment,” the professor concluded.
However, experts considerthat the production of alternative products will increase. Many countries have already experimented with the production of alternative types of food. So, in 2012 France In stores there were flour beetle larvae in beautiful packages. They were positioned as a snack.
In 2017, Finland produced bread with the addition of cricket flour. It took an average of 70 insects to produce one loaf. At first the product was in demand, but then interest in it waned due to high cost and taste
However, the number of producers of insects for food is still growing. So, the company from Singapore Nutrition Technologies has long been producing animal feed from black soldier fly larvae. More than $20 million has already been raised for business development. The German company Bugfoundation has gone even further: it produces meat for burgers from worms buffalo.
The insect protein market will grow annually (until 2025)