It seems the West is catching up with the East – because, as registered Hong Kong dietitian Danica Yau observes, “insect eating is nothing new in Asia”. What has brought them to global attention, she says, “is the minimal ecological impact, availability and nutritional value of edible insects”.
Fiona Tuck, an Australian health and wellness expert and author of The Forensic Nutritionist, is considered a myth buster in the industry. “Eating insects is good for the economy and the environment: crickets require less land, food, water, and energy than many animal protein sources including beef, chicken or pork.”
And they’re not just good for the planet, they’re good for us, too. Crickets are 69 per cent protein; contain all nine essential amino acids; are high in vitamin B12; a good source of both Omega 6 essential fatty acids and Omega 3 in the “perfect” 3:1 ratio; have twice as much potassium as spinach, as much calcium as milk, and are a source of heme (more on this below), the more absorbable form of iron commonly found in red meat.
Even the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation agrees that “edible insects are undeniably rich sources of iron”. What’s more, you don’t need to pull insect legs off as you toss its body into your casserole as crickets for cuisine come in a helpfully, palatable powder form.