Cricket crackers for sale at Cambridge Cheese Company
High in protein, with 100 per cent natural ingredients, and environmentally friendly, crackers where one of the main ingredients is crickets (yes, you read that right) are now on sale at the Cambridge Cheese Company.
Eating insects is not just for reality TV contestants, now the rest of us are being encouraged to do the same – not just for our health but for the good of the under-threat world around us.
Everybody’s favourite chirping insect, when it comes to food for humans, crickets actually contain twice as much protein as beef, more iron than spinach and more calcium than milk – worth bearing in mind before allowing yourself to be put off by the main ingredient of these tasty crackers: cricket powder.
Crickets also require drastically less land, water, feed and energy than traditional protein sources, making them remarkably sustainable.
A win-win situation all round, you might think.
A key reason why the Amazon rainforest is burning this year is the clearance of land for cattle ranching.
So switching to more sustainable forms of protein – like insects – is something simple we can all do.
The company that makes these dairy-free and no-added-sugar crackers, and also tortilla chips, is Crické, a new edible insects brand striving to do its bit for the environment by attempting to introduce crickets – one of nature’s healthiest foods – into our diets.
Crické’s products are all-natural, high in protein (more than 20 per cent) and vitamin B12, and have a very short list of ingredients, with no artificial flavourings, colourings or preservatives added.
Cricket powder minimum content is no less than 15 per cent.
The Cambridge Cheese Company, in All Saints Passage, boasts artisan foods.
Jade Tiger Thomas, one of two managers, said: “We have always been interested in sustainability and that sort of thing, and we do it with our packaging and our products as well.
"Obviously insects have been a talking point for future food production, and it just came from that really.
"We only want to see products that are good – it’s not just about what they are.
"We don’t want them just because it’s a gimmick – these crackers actually taste really nice too.
"It’s got to be a quality product and it’s got to come from a decent supplier – and this one ticks all the boxes.”
The reaction from customers has been “very good, very positive”.
She said: “When we first got the samples in, we were quite excited about it.
"I kept offering it to customers, and lots of them said, ‘Wow, they’re surprisingly good’.”
It seems more people in the UK are becoming open to the idea of eating insects.
“I think so,” said Jade, “and I don’t really see why we wouldn’t be...
"Human beings would have been eating insects for thousands of years, just on a purely foraging basis.
"And you look at other cultures around the world, they eat insects regularly.”
The taste test:
The following flavours were sent to the Cambridge Independent for testing: ginger and chilli, onion and nigella seeds, and tomato and oregano.
There is also a choice of poppy and chia seeds.
However, a word to the wise, people allergic to crustacean shellfish may also be allergic to crickets...
Ginger & chilli
The flavours aren’t too strong so anybody worried that the chilli might be too hot needn’t be.
The taste of ginger isn’t immediately apparent either, which again, considering its strong flavour, could be seen by some as bonus.
I did picture crickets jumping in my head while eating the crackers, but if you didn’t know there was cricket powder in them, you would never guess.
Onion & nigella seeds
The onion is the dominant flavour here and some may find it a little overpowering – not me, I love onion (especially when mixed with garlic), as those who sit near me in the office will testify.
The crackers have a pleasant after taste and I would definitely say I preferred them to the ginger & chilli.
Tomato & oregano
These were perhaps my least favourite of the three, though they were still edible and not without their charm.
Tasting a bit like bolognese sauce in the form of a cracker, I found I ate my way through one of the individual packets inside the box before I’d even realised it.
That said, they weren’t as tasty as the onion & nigella seed.
Conclusion: Some crackers can leave one feeling rather bloated but these didn’t have that effect at all.
Flavoursome and ‘light’, they are certainly a lot better to snack on than many other things out there that I can think of, and at no point is there some strange flavour that you can’t quite put your finger on.
Good for you and good for the environment, maybe it’s time we all put some in our shopping trolleys?