Last week we reported on a Cambridge startup that's producing “cricket chips," which are—you guessed it—chips made from crickets. The idea behind the startup is to make insects (a more efficient source of protein than beef, chicken, or pork) a more palatable dish for westerners.
As it turns out, the trend is not limited to Harvard entrepreneurs. An Icelandic designer is working on an even stranger food source: fly larvae.
Depending on your particular queasiness, this may be even grosser than the idea of pulverized cricket dust. It certainly sounds gross to us, but we can’t help being intrigued.
Búi Bjarmar Aðalsteinsson has produced pâtés and desserts, including a “coconut-chocolate larvae dessert,” using larvae bred in a literal “fly factory.“
"They taste like chicken," he told Dezeen. "There is no distinct taste. It depends on how you spice them and how you prepare them.”
The "fly factory" machine, which works as a kind of composting system, is designed to produce zero waste. You put leftover food scraps into the container and the insects feed on it, simultaneously fattening up and excreting a nutrient-rich fertilizer. The fertilizer can be used to grow herbs and spices inside the machine, and the larvae themselves can be made into delicious, protein-rich treats. It’s like a hybrid fridge and garbage disposal.
The fly farm is mostly intended for restaurants and food manufacturers. It’s less practical in your typical home kitchen, since few consumers are inclined to breed insects in their home—let alone rely on them for sustenance.
The real takeaway here is that people are starting to take insects more seriously as a viable food source. The trend will become even more important as resources become scarcer in coming decades due to overpopulation and climate change.
“Larvae are similar to meat when it comes to protein, fat, and nutrients," Aðalsteinsson stated. "But larvae need 5 to 10 times less feed to produce the same amount of growth. Larvae, and insects in general, are also very resourceful when it comes to feeding, as they are able to digest almost any biomass available in the natural environment."