Selfridges launches insect-based food range as demand for sustainable protein grows
Department store Selfridges has unveiled plans to stock a range of insect-based snacks, in a bid to showcase the environmental and nutritional benefits of alternative proteins to UK customers.
The company announced today (29 January) that a range of pasta, protein bars and granola snacks made using insect flour will be stocked in its food halls by the end of the week.
The new line of products has been designed exclusively for Selfridges by French artisan brand Jimini’s and includes basil-flavoured fusilli pasta, pumpkin seed granola and dark chocolate protein bars – all of which are made using either ground buffalo worms or cricket-based flour. Jimini’s already produces similar snacks for the Spanish and German supermarket sector, but this is its first UK venture.
Selfridges said in a statement that the move to stock these products was taken due to growing concerns around the sustainability of producing traditional protein such as beef, eggs, pork and poultry, compounded by consumer demands for new and innovative protein-heavy foods.
“We are sure our Epicurious customers will be surprised and delighted discovering the new range in store,” Selfridges food buying director Edward Goodman said.
The products will initially be offered on a trial basis through Selfridges’ pop-up “bug bars” but may be made a permanent offering if they prove popular with customers. The launch of the “bug bars” will follow on from its decision to stock chocolate-covered giant ants in its London food hall last year.
A new kind of grub
More than 1,000 insect species are believed to be eaten around the world, predominantly across Asian and African nations, with the UN estimating that two billion people worldwide regularly consume insects.
However, as concerns surrounding the carbon intensity of livestock farming mount, businesses and policymakers across other key geographical areas are now beginning to tout insects as a viable protein source. This trend has led experts to predict that the edible insect market will exceed $520m (£406m) by 2023, as population growth spurs the need for more sustainable protein sources.
Gram for gram, dried crickets contain more protein than beef, chicken and pork – with 68g per 100g of product. The protein ratio for beef, meanwhile, stands at 31g per 100g of meat.
And, according to WWF, farming cows also requires 12 times as much feed as farming the same amount of crickets on a gram for gram basis.
Taking these concerns into account, Sainsbury’s last year launched a range of cricket-based snacks, making it the first UK supermarket to stock edible insects. The chain has since sold more than 10,000 packets of the product.
Similarly, Brighton-based startup Yora recently launched what it claims is the world’s first insect-based dog food. The feed is made from a blend of grubs, oats and potato fibres.