Edible insects contain high levels of fat, protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber, sometimes at levels similar to red meat or fish. House crickets are said to contain an average of 205 grams of protein per kilogram, compared to 256 for beef. Other insect varieties contain unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids, essential amino acids and iron.
Great for protein and growing spore-forming bacteria
Adding 10% or 30% cricket powder to wheat flour resulted in bread with a higher nutritional profile, with more fatty acid composition, protein content and essential amino acids, Italian researchers found. The study demonstrated that “edible insects powder can successfully be included in leavened baked goods to enhance their protein content,” and that edible insects “can constitute a novel source of innovative ingredients to be used in bread making.”
Untrained panelists seemed to like the bread enriched with 10% cricket powder, researchers noted, but the presence of spore-forming bacteria in the cricket-based bread raised potential safety issues.
Researchers managed to overcome the problem by applying preventive treatments, such as microwaving the insect powder before adding it to the bread, according to BakeryandSnacks. Their study was published in Innovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies.