A team of students from McGill University have been awarded $1 million in seed money from the Hult Prize for their project, Aspire Food Group. Their goal? To create a protein-rich flour that will help feed malnourished populations around the world – and it’s made of finely-ground insects.
What used to be a niche market is now inspiring global change. Known as “mini-livestock” these mass-produced insects will provide people with nutrients that are otherwise lacking in developing nations (such as protein and iron). In fact, the team is heading to Mexico shortly to breed 10 tons of grasshoppers by the end of March 2014. They say while their five-year plan is ambitious, it's attainable.
The plan is to target countries that already eat insects and use locally appropriate bugs according to each population’s preferences. For example, they’ll be breeding grasshoppers in Mexico, palm weevils in Ghana, and caterpillars in Botswana. The insect-of-choice will then be ground into a fine powder and mixed with local flour to create what they’re calling “Power Flour.”
They’ve already started taste tests: In a duel between tortillas made with regular corn flour versus cricket flour, the cricket flour received rave reviews.
Their goal is to reach over 20 million people living in slums around the globe by 2018.
While I’m thrilled about how this breakthrough will help the less fortunate, I’m one of the many who couldn’t know I’m eating bugs – I’d automatically wait for my muffin to start chirping. (Mind you, I’m a big chicken who hasn’t even tried seafood yet.)
How about you? Would you try Power Flour?
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Image: Lida Rose