Pasta, protein bars and granola bars made from insect flour are to go on sale in Selfridges to highlight alternative proteins for inclusion in mainstream diets.
Amid growing awareness of the environmental impact of livestock farming – and the benefits of reducing meat consumption – the British department store is the latest retailer to tap into the rising recognition of the benefits of eating insects on both nutritional and environmental grounds.
Basil fusilli pasta and raspberry and pumpkin seed granola – made from flour from ground buffalo worms – will go on sale in Selfridges’ food halls this week, along with dark chocolate and fig protein bars made with cricket flour.
The products have been developed by the specialist French brand Jimini’s, which sells through Spanish and German supermarkets and is aiming to expand its presence in the UK. The new products are exclusive to Selfridges.
Environmental experts have long recommended insects as a sustainable food source that could help end world hunger and reduce the damaging impact of meat production. Insects are also nutritious, containing essential proteins, fats, minerals and amino acids.
A regular portion of buckwheat pasta usually contains about 10g of protein, whereas Jimini’s insect fusilli contains 18g. Jimini’s cereal bars contain 20% protein and granola 14% – both products are blended with a selection of fruit and nuts for variety of texture. The products will be promoted in Selfridges initially in themed, pop-up “bug bars” but may remain on sale permanently.
Edward Goodman, the food buying director of Selfridges, said: “We are sure our epicurious customers will be surprised and delighted discovering the new range in store.”
In the UK, food choices are becoming increasingly important in the debate about how to counter climate change, reflected in the rise of “flexitarianism” whereby a largely vegetable-based diet is supplemented occasionally with meat.
In November, Sainsbury’s became the first major UK grocer to stock edible crickets – selling the roasted insects as snacks in small bags from the UK brand Eat Grub in 250 of its stores.
“Having sold over 10,000 packs of Eat Grub crickets in less than three months, we’re continuing to see Sainsbury’s customers explore edible insects as a new sustainable protein source,” said Katherine O’Sullivan, Sainsbury’s buying manager. “We’re always looking to provide our customers with new and exciting products such as these.”
The global edible insect market is forecast to exceed $520m (£395m) by 2023, according to recent research. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization said at least 2 billion people regularly consume insects and they could help meet the food needs of the world’s growing population.
More than 1,000 insect species are eaten around the world but they hardly feature in the diets of many rich nations. In the UK, crickets and other insects have so far been predominantly limited to quirky pop-ups or sales through online outlets and feature on a few restaurant menus.