Insects are eaten routinely by people all over the world, except western cultures like ours in the UK. With growing populations, we are starting to look at additional protein sources and insects are ram packed with protein, vitamins and minerals.
Our vision at GreenBee is to give you access to British grown insects that you can enjoy in delicious treats or as ingredients to experiment with at home.
We are developing our YumBugs ranges of products to enable us to expand our protein sources and give access to delicious food that our ancestors and other cultures around the world have been enjoying for years!
Why insects are great for children
In many countries around the world children relish preparing and gobbling up edible insect treats. They are a fantastic protein source for growing children as they contain a large amount good quality digestable protein. Edible insects are also a great source of vitamins and minerals and linoleic acids such as Omega 3 and Omega 6.
In many western cultures childhood obesity is an increasing problem and easy access to sugary fatty food and snacks is not helping the situation. Edible insects added to low sugar snacks could give children a new type of treat that would benefit their growth and development. We are developing YumBug products to give children nutritious alternative snacks.
Young children are generally open to trying new foods and haven't developed our learned 'yuck' reaction of edible insects. This reaction in older children and adults is a normal part of our learned immune system and keeps us from eating things that may make us ill. In our trials, even fussy children and adults can over-ride this and tune into their inner curious child and try something new... and love it!
Meet the farmer!
What made me want to farm insects? Well...
Dr Heather Gibbard
I'm an entomologist and have studied insects for many years, mainly how to control insect pests of crops. About seven years ago I discovered entomophagy when I tried my first edible insect - chocolate covered crickets. They were pretty good, a bit like a chocolate crispies. Later in Austin, Texas and tried chapulines (Mexican grasshoppers) in a taco and they tasted amazing! Like zingy bacony treats in spices with cheese and avocado in a crispy corn taco - I immediately ordered another one!
After a short break from the entomology lab to rear two cheeky monkeys, I wanted to get back to rearing insects (way easier than children!!). Researching edible insects had been wriggling around in my head since eating that taco! So I ordered a few different types of insects online and started cooking with them and giving them to my family. My children eat them like raisins or chocolate buttons and love bug pasta!
Insects are brilliant animals to farm as they breed very quickly, like to snuggle together and require only a tiny amount of water, space, and energy. In addition, they don't produce methane (a greenhouse gas). This is because insects can breakdown plant material in their gut without using symbiotic bacteria. Cows and other vertebrate animals need these bacteria to help get nutrients out of their food. The bacteria produce methane in animal guts when breaking down plant material such as the woody parts of grass.
I don't advocate replacing meat with insects - a great steak is a treat! I see insects as a way to broaden our diet; they would benefit our health, and with over 9 billion of us to feed in 30 years, expanding our food sources is something we all need to think about. I also really feel that through our learned 'squeemishness' we have been missing out on some delicious and nutritious treats!