This new foodie trend hits all the sweet spots: it's all about protein, bugs and being environmentally friendly. Welcome to the era of cockroach bread!
The idea of eating your share of protein from sources other than traditional meat -beef, pork, chicken or fish- is not new. Several countries in Latin America and Asia have a long tradition of entomophagy (bug eating, for the layman): about 2 thousand million people eat bugs regularly, but many still find this idea "icky".
The idea is brilliant, and it has been hailed as one surefire way of avoiding the depletion of resources of planet Earth, since bugs reproduce at a rate way faster than other protein sources, there is no need to grow tonnes of food to feed them, and the environmental impact of farming them is negligible. Enio Viera, nutrition professor, explains the huge difference between farming bugs and other animals:
«You need 250 square meters to get 1 kilogram of meat. To get the same amount of bugs, you only need 30 square meters. You also need less water: 1 thousand liters for bugs vs. 20 thousand liters for beef».
Enter: Cockroach Bread
The food industry is showing more and more interest in developing new products that take advantage of this opportunity, such as the cockroach bread, developed in a lab in the Federal University of Rio Grande, in Brazil. They used a type of roach called nauphoeta cinerea or lobster cockroach, native to North Eastern Africa and now present all over the planet; but, thank God almighty, is NOT your run of the mill dirty-alley roach.
Now, how would they possible make a cockroach into something edible you ask? Well, first, the bugs are dehydrated and pulverized into fine flour, which is then mixed into regular white wheat flour and processed just like any other regular white bread. With only 10% of cockroach flour, 100 grams of white bread will contain up to 22 grams of protein, while the same amount of regular white bread contains just 9 grams. On top of it, the cockroach bread recipe contains up to 68% less fat.
But, how does it taste like?
According to Myrian Salas Mellado, the engineer in charge of the project, the taste is not really affected by the mix:
«We performed sensory tests, including texture, smell, color and flavor. We did not record any significant alteration. Perhaps some consumers will report perceiving a subtle hint of peanuts».
Once you get over the idea that you are, in fact, eating cockroach flour, you will not be able to tell the difference between this bread and other breads, because the texture is exactly the same.
Only time will tell if food scarcity, as well as the economical impact initiatives like these might have will be enough to cement the popularity of these food items and will make countries such as Brazil itself change its laws to allow bugs to be sold for human consumption.
Would you try this bread?
More about bugs, here: