Horizon Insects sounds like a company that supplies pet stores. But it’s actually hoping its products will be found in a pub near you, if you’re in Europe.
Tiziana De Constanzo raises crickets and mealworms in a shed in her London backyard. Under her startup business, Horizon Insects, she teaches classes in cooking with insects. Scratch pizza dough, for instance, made with the usual ingredients but enriched with protein flour – specifically, ground cricket.
Around a quarter of the world’s population eat insects regularly, but they’re an almost taboo food in the global West. Experts say that many bugs, like the aforementioned mealworms and crickets, are as rich in protein as most meats, but much more sustainable to raise. Insect farming can be done on food scraps, requires almost no land, and has few if any emissions.
There’s a strong reaction to the idea from many who didn’t grow up with insects at the table, but it may be time to rethink that response.
“It’s very difficult to turn people’s minds around but insects are absolutely safe to eat, maybe even more nutritious than meat products,” says Arnold van Huis, a professor of tropical entomology in the Netherlands.
Up until now, most regulatory bodies have not governed edible insects, leaving a sort of buyer-beware market. But that’s beginning to change both in the EU and the US – in both places, insect meal has recently been approved as fodder for livestock, and the EU has launched a framework for seeking approval for insects as livestock, which must now be sought species by species. Their first approval, for yellow mealworm, was granted early this year. They do warn people with shellfish and dust mite allergies to give the food a pass, however.
Horizon Insects, while currently only teaching and not selling, advocates for cricket pizza dough, mealworm burgers, and adding powdered mealworm as a protein push to any cake, bread, or pasta.