Edible insects? Finns lead by example
More and more Finnish food manufacturers are beginning to consider insects as a sustainable food source, says Jonas Aaltio.
The Finnish edible insect industry is currently buzzing (or should we say chirping).
More and more food manufacturers are beginning to consider crickets, worms and drones as actual food ingredients that they are willing to try in their food products. Insect food is seen as trendy, and it holds great opportunities for branding a business as forward-looking and green.
But what is happening in Finland is different when you compare it to EU countries where the cultivation and sale of insects as food was permitted years ago. In many countries crickets are still found only in snack bars, crisps, pastries and occasionally sauces. But Finland is taking it three steps forward.
Viking Line, one of the largest passenger traffic brands in the northern Baltic Sea, is serving a bug-based menu in April–May. Meanwhile, the largest student food service company in Finland, Unicafé, has done trials with cricket-based food, and students have emptied cricket and fava bean Bolognese trays faster than anyone thought. Recently, Fazer Food Services served cricket tasters to office workers at one of their many lunch rooms in Pasila, Helsinki.
We’re seeing a complete food revolution where nutritious and tasty crickets and worms are actually considered as possible main sources of protein in a food portion. Finnish insects are raised at the same level as Finnish beef and pork, and insects are not treated as fun snacks that don’t have much other value.
We all are aware of how big of a strain our current meat-based food production places on the environment. I’m very excited that Finns are embracing the opportunity ecological insect food offers – we’re on our way in building a new sustainable food ecosystem.