Anyone for sweet n sour grasshopper?

Kitchen starter kit could help make insects the food of the future

Date posted

13 May 2015

11:41

Last updated

11 April 2017

An innovative cookery kit has been created to encourage people to eat INSECTS as part of their daily diet.

Creepy-crawlies like beetles, caterpillars and grasshoppers are a staple in many parts of the world.

But despite them being low in fat and calories and containing as much protein as beef, many in the Western world are repulsed by the idea of swallowing insects.

Now a student who has been won over by arguments that insects are the food of the future has designed her own ‘starter kit’ for turning them into a tasty meal.

Courtney Yule, who is in the final year of a product design course at Edinburgh Napier University, was inspired by studies identifying entomophagy - the practice of eating insects - as the best way to feed the growing global population.

Harvesting insects is also seen as more environmentally-friendly than traditional livestock farming which requires land, crops for feed, and animals and machinery which produce greenhouse gases.

Courtney’s “Entopod”, which mimics the shape of an insect, promotes the idea of insects as a sustainable food source while also trying to dispel the “yuck factor” which inhibits people from tasting them.

The device – one of hundreds of exhibits created by students to be showcased at Edinburgh Napier’s 2015 Degree Show from May 22 – is designed to encourage experimentation by providing everything needed to create a range of insect-based recipes in one portable product.

Courtney, 22, said: “The main barrier is obviously getting consumers to accept the idea of eating insects. Before I began this work I didn’t even like to touch them, but I don’t have any problem with eating them now and it is a practice which is growing in popularity every day.

“People think nothing about eating prawns and shrimps but they have a different reaction to grasshoppers and crickets. However, the more you read about the health benefits, the less bothered you become. You can do anything with insects; sweet and sour grasshopper, mealworm macaroni, lime and ginger locusts or cricket cookies.”

Courtney carried out research which found most people WOULD consider eating insects. However, many did find the look offputting, even those who enjoyed lobster or prawns. The taste and texture of the initial bite often came as a pleasant surprise, and she decided there would be interest in a ‘starter kit’ which allowed people to experiment with entomophagy.

The plastic Entopod inludes a grinder to create insect flour to bake into recipes or add to shakes, and detachable containers to heat food in the oven, microwave or on the hob. Insect fondue is also a possibility with the addition of a candle underneath the leg stand, and the reverse ends of the eating utensils used as skewers. Insect snacks can also be stored in the detachable containers, perfect for a lunch on the go or as part of a high-protein diet.

Courtney, from Berwick-upon-Tweed, added: “A lot of people are now supplying dried insects but in the course of my research I have not seen any other products which help in preparing them to eat. I am now at the stage of tweaking design components, and although the prototype is white I am also working on bright neon and anodised colours resembling the natural colouring of insects.  After the degree show, I will be taking it down to the New Designers show in London in July.”

More than 300 new and emerging designers, musicians, photographers, film makers, art directors, advertising directors, journalists, creative writers, publishers, television programme makers and actors will exhibit over the course of the Degree Show in and around the university’s Merchiston campus, which is open to the public from May 22-31.