05/10/20 – Products / Snacks / Insects / Crickets / Crackers / Savoury / Nutritious / Small Giants
Small Giants launch super-sustainable insect-based snacks
If you like your snacks a little unusual, highly sustainable and outrageously tasty, the Small Giants Crackers are for you. These bite-sized savoury crackers are made with cricket flour – a highly sustainable source of protein, and the UK founders of this new ‘brand-with-a-purpose’ range of products are touting their revolutionary snacks as a great way to eat insects “without the yuck-factor”.
Ideal for healthy snacking at any time of day, Small Giant Crackers are made with 15 per cent cricket flour, which brings an umami taste, a protein punch and a boost of Vitamin B12. Other ingredients are 100-per-cent natural – extra virgin olive oil and wheat flour give fibre, texture and the distinctive crunchiness. The oven-baked snacks come in 40g packs and are available in three tasty flavours: Tomato & Oregano, Turmeric & Smoked Paprika, and Rosemary & Thyme.
Sustainable, delicious and nutritious
The firm expects the sustainability factor to be an attractive draw in a market where consumers are increasingly conscious of where their food comes from and what impacts its production may have had on the environment. Crickets offer a viable sustainable source of protein as they require a fraction of the water, land, feed and energy required to produce the equivalent protein from other sources.
Beyond that, the new snack innovation is naturally nutritious. With more than 20 per cent protein content, these crunchy snacks are a natural source of complete protein containing the whole spectrum of amino acids essential to human biology. The snacks contain twice as much protein as fat, are a source of fibre and are high in vitamin B12, which is crucial for a healthy immune system and brain. They are dairy-free, and with no added sugar.
Small Giants was established by Edoardo Imparto and Francesco Majno, who discovered their love of insects while travelling in Thailand. The co-founders have said they want to “open people’s eyes and mouths to the benefits of insect-based snacking, showing people the many benefits eating insects bring to the planet and our health”.
Eliminating the ‘yuck-factor’
“Small Giant Crackers are the best way to try insects for the first time... and fall in love with them!” remarked Francesco. “While people are starting to understand the reasons to include edible insects in their diet, they may be put off by the ‘yuck-factor’ – but once people try our revolutionary snacks, they love the taste and the taboo is broken!”
He continued that as attitudes towards edible insects are changing, his firm’s aim is “to bring excitement, innovation and new consumers” to a savoury snacks market that has seen little change in recent years. “We’ve created a planet-positive, insect-enriched snack that tastes great and offers a genuine alternative to those wanting to cut their consumption of animal-based foods and find an alternative source of protein.”
The low-down on rising cricket consumption
• Why should we be eating crickets?
The FAO (the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization) promotes the eating of insects because, besides being highly nutritious, they have an extremely low environmental footprint. Farming insects requires only a tiny fraction of all the natural resources needed to produce traditional protein sources.
• Are crickets really sustainable?
Crickets require drastically less land, water, feed and energy than traditional protein sources, such as cattle. And produce less than 0.1 per cent of the greenhouse gases that cows produce, according to FAO data.
• Are crickets a healthy food choice?
Crickets are a complete protein source, containing all the essential amino acids – the building blocks of protein that we can only get from food. They have up to 70% protein content (about two to three times higher than red meat). Compare that to some other traditional source of protein (chicken breast has 31%, salmon 20%, boiled soybean 17%). Crickets are also a source of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and fibre and so they’re ideal for a balanced diet. Vitamin B12 is fundamental for your immune system to thrive, and crickets have more than 100% of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin B12 per serve. They also contain as much calcium as milk, making them the perfect non-dairy source of calcium.
• How/where are crickets farmed?
Eating insects is nothing new in many parts of the world. The FAO estimates that insects are part of the regular diet of roughly two billion people globally. Edible insects have long been a part of Thailand’s traditional cuisine, so it’s not surprising that insect farming is wide spread there. Crickets also need high temperatures (ideally 30°C) to live, and Thailand’s climate provides the ideal conditions.
Small Giants sources its cricket powder from a British professional supplier that is the only BRC-certified cricket powder supplier worldwide. These crickets are guaranteed for human consumption and farmed in Thailand. The farming of crickets and all the steps involved in the production take place in a controlled environment in order to obtain the best quality flours. Crickets are used to living in dense conditions, can be farmed vertically, and can be reared on bio-waste transforming it into high-quality protein.
• What is the UK’s appetite for crickets?
According to a 2018 Sainsbury’s report: One in five shoppers said they can see the advantages of eating edible insects, particularly as an alternative protein source (25 per cent) as well as for the health and nutritional benefits (15 per cent). Attitudes towards edible insects are changing too, with almost 10 per cent of consumers having already tried edible insects, and 57 per cent saying they enjoyed them. Over four in 10 said they would be willing to try insects in the future, while one in eight said they have yet to try edible insects because they haven’t had the chance or don’t know where to buy them. Furthermore, Leatherhead Food Research reported that 74 per cent of UK households had reduced the amount of red meat they consumed in 2019.
The forecasts for insect-based food products are promising: the market is expected to grow rapidly in the next few years, reaching 260,000 tonnes by 2030, with 42 per cent of Brits saying they are willing to try insects.