Roasted crickets are now on the menu at Sainsbury’s as it becomes the first UK supermarket to stock edible insects.
The barbecued flavoured bugs will be sold in 250 stores across the country from November 18.
Packets of Eat Grub’s smoky BBQ crunchy roasted crickets, described as “crunchy in texture with a rich smoky flavour”, will cost £1.50.
Sainsbury’s said the novel product could be eaten as a snack or used to garnish dishes such as tacos, noodles and salads.
Eat Grub was launched in 2014 by co-founders Shami Radia and Neil Whippey with the aim to introduce insects to western food culture.
The pair previously teamed up with chef Sebby Holmes to open an insect-themed pop-up restaurant in east London.
Mr Radia said: “Currently, insects are eaten and enjoyed by two billion people worldwide.
“We’re on a mission to show the west that as well as having very strong sustainability and environmental credentials, they are also seriously tasty and shouldn’t be overlooked as a great snack or recipe ingredient.”
A survey commissioned by Sainsbury’s and EatGrub suggested 10% of British people have tried edible insects, of which more than half said they enjoyed them.
About two in five (42%) shoppers were open to trying edible bugs, with 7% even prepared to add them to a weekly shop.
Edible insects already form part of diets around the world, with the global market estimated to exceed 522 million US dollars (£406 million) by 2023.
Eat Grub says that gram for gram its dried crickets contain more protein than beef, chicken and pork – with 100g containing 68g of protein, compared to 31g of protein in beef.
Edible insects are also considered a sustainable food source, requiring less resources to farm than cattle or other livestock.
Duncan Williamson, a global food system expert and food policy manager at WWF UK, said edible insects could help reduce shoppers’ carbon footprint.
“As the population increases, we urgently need to look at alternative protein sources to make the most of land available for food production,” he said.
Rachel Eyre, head of future brands at Sainsbury’s, said: “Insect snacks should no longer be seen as a gimmick or something for a dare, and it’s clear that consumers are increasingly keen to explore this new sustainable protein source.”
Eat Grub’s smoky BBQ crunchy roasted crickets will launch in 250 Sainsbury’s stores on November 18 for £1.50.