Asia is at the forefront of insect protein advancement says US cricket seasoning founder

By Guan Yu Lim

- Last updated on GMT

A tablespoon of seasoning provides between 2.5 to 3 grams of protein ©Orchestra Provisions
A tablespoon of seasoning provides between 2.5 to 3 grams of protein ©Orchestra Provisions

Related tags cricket protein Insect Insect protein

Asia is at the forefront of advances in developing insects for human consumption and will benefit from growing demand for nutrient-dense protein sources for the global marketplace.

That’s according to Kate Stoddard, the founder of US firm Orchestra Provisions, which produces seasoning made from cricket powder.

Many Asian cultures have a strong tradition in entomophagy (insect consumption) and usually don't have to overcome aversion when incorporating insects into the diet,”​ she said.

She praised Asia as an ideal place to cultivate efficient agricultural practices to scale and make biodiverse nutrient-dense protein sources for the global marketplace.

Many parts of Asia have an ideal climate for low energy and cost-efficient agricultural advancements. Asia is at the forefront of advancements in raising a multitude of insects that will ultimately feed billions of people in the future​.”

Cricket-based seasoning

Orchestra Provisions, based in Idaho, currently sells eight blends of seasoning, in himalayan sea salt, szechuan pepper, curry powder, chai spice, pico grillo, za'atar, cajun wings and togarashi, with each blend containing about 50% cricket powder.

A tablespoon of seasoning provides between 2.5 to 3 grams of protein. It also contains iron, calcium, prebiotic fiber, b-vitamins.

She explained it could be applied in many food and beverage applications. “You can use them in any recipe and multiple times a day. You can mix them into beverages that are warm or cold for a nutritive treat. You can add it into oatmeal, soups, rice bowls, smoothies, baked goods, sauces​.”

The chai spice with a bit of sugar goes well on the rim of a tequila, vodka, mezcal or gin drink and the pico grillo and cajun with salt rim a bloody mary wonderfully. I have seen people be more willing to try eating insects with alcohol​.”

But the main challenge is still consumer’s perception to insect-based foods, “Once we show people that insects are a wonderful food staple and popular demand increases, we can move toward more bold products that have huge sustainable impacts​.”

The firm is currently working with a bakery in Idaho to use the chai spice in their sweet potato pancakes, as well as with Boise Fry Company for its French fries.

The seasonings are available to consumers globally through the website. In the U.S., it can be found in 20 retail locations.

Acceptance now or later

Stoddard said the the biggest challenge in R&D was a lack of market and consumer data.

“There isn't a wealth of data surrounding market behaviours, aversion and acceptance rates, other company's success rates with insect-based products,​” she added.

Stoddard said she saw potential in Asia for her product, “This product is absolutely viable for the Asian marketplace. This is a unique and fun product that is easy to use and makes a friendly place at the dinner table for sustainable conversation​.”

While acknowledging that this type of product development could receive criticism for being "novelty" ​or "bougie",​ she argued: “This product is a necessary step to incorporating raw cricket powder as a staple internationally. There is a reason that whole insects aren't owning a huge space in the food marketplace, but my research sees that one day this will be normal and affordable to all humans​.

Stoddard is planning to roll out a more therapeutic superfood product line this Christmas, which would include golden milk, red milk, green milk and a Mayan hot cocoa.

Beside cultivating insects as an alternative protein source, insects can also be utilised for waste management.

Stoddard added that Asia is also at the front of "insects as feed" ​technology developments.

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