Brits go nuts for ‘pulverised cricket crisps’ as insect snacks fly off shelves

Brits are going nuts for snacks made from bugs.

Crisps made from crickets are high in protein, gluten-free and only contain good fat.

They are a huge hit with university students and flying off the shelves in posh delis nationwide.

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Protein industry boffins forecast their healthy make-up could result in them being as popular as alternatives to dairy milk.

Clara Best, founder of food company Saved, has flogged 25,000 packets of her savoury cricket puffs already this year.

They are made from acheta domesticus – aka house crickets – which are freeze-dried and milled into a powder which is '70% protein and the rest is good fats', she said.

"The students are really excited about it and most of them are vegetarians or even vegans or are flexitarian, so it really resonates,'' she said.

"I think the time is right now because people are aware of alternative proteins. All of them have milk alternatives in the fridge.

"I think that it was much needed to bring that awareness to everyone in terms of milk alternatives, meat alternatives, protein alternatives, and people are on the lookout for more now. And that is where insects come in.''

Clara said insects are 'a superfood that no one really knows about', with one packet of her cricket snack containing the same amount of protein as an egg.

Cricket farms are eco-friendling too.

The bugs are cultivated in vertical pens taking up less land, water, feed and carbon dioxide than other animal farming.

Clara said the crickets are killed humanely by freezing them which puts them into hibernation before they die as they temperature continues to fall.

She said it is 'debatable' if the insects have a nervous system and insists it is a 'subtle death'.

The former PepsiCo employee stumbled across insect protein after growing fed up with 'highly processed' supermarket meat substitutes.

She started nibbling seasoned dried mealworms as snacks and put them into soups.

But her husband turned his nose up at her mealworm granola moaning the bugs were 'floating in the milk'.

Undeterred she moved on to crickets.

"You dry them and then you mill the whole insect into a powder,'' she said.

Her savoury puffs come in a variety of flavours including sour cream and onion, smoked paprika, Mediterranean herbs and mature cheese and she overcomes the 'yuk' factor as customers cannot see or taste insects.

They are going down a storm on campuses of University of the Arts London and London Business School.

A vast range of new snacks are set to follow with cricket tortilla chips, pasta, granola and chocolate protein powder on the menu and more than 2,000 other edible insect species in existence including grasshoppers and black soldierflies.

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