Crickets are set to hit the shelves as Sainsbury’s becomes the first supermarket to sell edible bugs.
Customers will be able to fill their shopping baskets with Eat Grub’s Smoky BBQ Crunchy Roasted Crickets in 250 of the supermarket giant’s stores from Sunday.
The house crickets, also known as acheta domesticus, are farmed in Europe will come in packets of about 50 and sell for £1.50 per bag.
Anyone brave enough to try the snack is promised to get a “crunchy texture with a rich, smoky flavour”.
Bugs already form a significant part of diets around the world and the global edible insect market is set to exceed $522m (£406m) by 2023.
Until now, the sale of edible crickets in the UK has been limited to quirky pop-ups.
Rachel Eyre, head of future brands at Sainsbury’s, said: “Insect snacks should no longer be seen as a gimmick or something for a dare, and it’s clear that consumers are increasingly keen to explore this new sustainable protein source."
London-based Eat Grub suggests eating the bugs as a snack or using them as a garnish on dishes such as tacos, noodles or salads.
Gram for gram, dried crickets contain more protein than beef, chicken and pork – with 100g containing 68g of protein, in comparison to just 31g of protein in beef.
Bugs also top the list when it comes to sustainable food sources. They emit considerably lower levels of greenhouse gases than most livestock and are much more efficient in terms of the resources needed to farm them – crickets, for example, need 12 times less feed than cattle.
Duncan Williamson, a global food system expert and food policy manager at WWF UK, said: “As the population increases, we urgently need to look at alternative protein sources to make the most of land available for food production.
“Insects are incredibly sustainable and can help to reduce our carbon footprint.”
Eat Grub was launched in 2014 by Shami Radia and Neil Whippey with the aim of introducing the foodstuff into western diets.
After collaborating with chef Sebby Holmes to open an insect-themed pop-up restaurant in east London, the duo started developing a wider range of products and launched their online store.
New research by Sainsbury’s and Eat Grub has revealed nearly 10 per cent of people in the UK have tried edible insects, of which more than half (57 per cent) say they enjoyed them.
Two in five (42 per cent) would be willing to try insects in the future, and seven per cent say they would be willing to add them to their weekly shop if they were easily available.