The new product comes hot on the heels of Finland dropping a ban on selling insects as food.
The idea of eating insects is far from revolutionary. Scientists have been touting the benefits for some time. And protein bars made out of crickets flirted enough with the mainstream that JetBlue made them available on flights in 2015. Still, food items that incorporate edible insects have never quite reached their tipping point, and if you ask people when the last time they ate an insect was, outside of a bad motocycle ride, plenty would probably say never. And yet, companies keep moving forward with insect-enhanced items for a bevy of reasons – health, environmental, sustainability – and new products continue to hit the market. For instance, a bakery in Finland has just unleashed what it’s calling a “first-in-the-world” insect bread.
The Finnish brand Fazer Bakeries has released Fazer Sirkkalepa, which translates to Fazer Cricket Bread, that includes flour made from ground house crickets. In fact, each loaf contains about 70 full crickets in total, ground up beyond recognition, of course.
Though the brand says the product is made from “a crunchy dough to enhance taste and increase mouthfeel,” the real difference isn’t so much in the flavor – which has been compared to “normal” bread – but in the health benefits. “Cricket bread is a good source of protein,” explained Juhani Sibakov, director of innovation at Fazer Baker. “Insects also contain good fatty acids, calcium, iron and vitamin B12.”
Interestingly, the timing of the new product isn’t coincidental. It was only this month that Finland ended a ban on raising and selling insects for food, adding the Nordic nation to a surprisingly short list of European countries that allow these practices: the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Denmark. Though jumping at the opportunity to make bread with crickets might seem a bit strange, Fazer Bakery’s Managing Director Markus Hellstrom said his company “wanted to be in the forefront of food revolution.”
The bakery is guessing that its customers might feel the same way. Though currently, the brand only has enough cricket flour to sell the Fazer Cricket Bread at 11 of its in-store bakeries, it’s already planning to roll out the product to all 47 of its locations. “According to research, of all the Nordic countries, Finns have the most positive attitudes towards insects,” said Sibakov. “We are looking forward to seeing how our novelty bread is received.” If anything is an issue, it might not be the crickets, but the cost: Insect bread can be priced nearly twice as much as normal bread. A loaf goes for €3.99 as opposed to the usual €2 to €3. Bugger!
This article originally appeared in Food & Wine.