When most people think of tasty snacks, six legs and antennae probably aren’t at the top of the list of qualities they have in mind. Using insects as ingredients in food, though, is a growing trend around the world, the unique properties of this food source making it an appealing prospect for inclusion in a number of products.
Curious about why food researchers are increasingly interested in incorporating insects into future products? Here are some of the main drivers behind the trend.
Insects Can Be Included in Products Rather Inconspicuously
While whole insects are included in many delicious dishes, many consumers feel nervous about eating them in this form. Insects, however, can be ground up into a powder not unlike regular protein powder, allowing them to be included in many kinds of foods rather discretely. Cricket powder, which is one of the most popular insect products included in food products today, has been used to make energy bars, crackers, bread, and many more products besides. Small amounts of the powder tend not to taste like much. Larger amounts reportedly lend their products a slightly nutty flavour—which many might see as a distinct bonus.
Because of this adaptability, graduates of food technology courses might find insects a good way to bolster the nutritional content of a given product. It’s likely, however, that they will want to be crystal clear that a given product has insect ingredients included. Many consumers would likely take poorly to discovering they had unwittingly eaten bugs.
Graduates of Food Technology Courses May Prize Insects’ Sustainability
Sustainably sourced ingredients are becoming a goal of many food producers hoping to appeal to a generation of environmentally conscious consumers. This just happens to be one of the main points in favour of including insects as ingredients in food products.
Many insects represent a great source of protein, in the same ballpark as typical protein-dense meats like beef, but don’t require anywhere near the same amount of resources or land area to be raised. They also produce far fewer of the gasses associated with global climate change.
With climate change threatening traditional food production processes and resource availability, securing more sustainable ingredients that provide the kind of nutrition that consumers demand is important. Turning to sustainable options like insects may prove to be a necessary move for food quality control and research professionals trying to adapt to changing circumstances.
Food Quality Control Experts May Be Impressed by How Much Value Insects Offer
All told, insects are quite economical when raised at scale. Less property required for raising them works out to lower land use or rental costs; greater efficiency in converting feed into mass results in lower upfront material costs. In fact, insects even require less energy expenditure on heating, since their cold-blooded bodies can remain productive at cooler temperatures.
Operationally, this can work out to significant savings for businesses that elect to use insects as ingredients, potentially allowing for greater profit margins or quicker expansion of a business. Consequently, as insects become a more mainstream product, it’s likely that food quality experts will be encouraged to assist in the creation of novel product lines that can take advantage of this wonderful ingredient. Developing a skill for product development through a quality training program will be key to preparing to handle this important and interesting responsibility in the years ahead.
Are you ready to embark on an interesting career in food quality assurance?
Contact AAPS to learn about our training program!