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Surprising Science

Could “Power Flour” Mean More Insect Consumption Worldwide?

A team of McGill University students are working on providing poorer countries with food products, including flour, made entirely from locally grown insects. Their concept won this year’s $1 million Hult Prize.

What’s the Latest Development?

A team of McGill University MBA students has launched a project, Aspire Food Group, in which they plan to supply poorer communities with food products created from mass-produced, locally-sourced insects. One of their first products is something they call “power flour,” which in Mexico will be made from grasshoppers. In order to get the 10 tons of grasshoppers needed for the first rollout by next March, they will rely on farmers in Oaxaca to help multiply a starter crop using specially-made containers. For their efforts, the team received the $1 million Hult Prize, given by the Clinton Global Initiative to college students who are interested in becoming social entrepreneurs.

What’s the Big Idea?

Talk of bringing more insects into more diets has grown louder in recent years. The UN released a report earlier this year that recommended eating insects for their iron and protein, and various companies are releasing do-it-yourself insect farms, some of which can sit on a kitchen countertop. Team member Mohammed Ashour says that originally they had planned to mass-produce just one type of insect — the versatile cricket — and spread those products worldwide, but realized that certain cultures already have their own preferences. “[I]n Mexico, people don’t eat crickets; they do eat grasshoppers.”

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Read it at NPR


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