World’s First: Finnish bakery sells insect-based bread in stores

Courtesy of CBS Newspath

HELSINKI,  Finland —A new bakery in Helsinki, Finland is gaining popularity for its bread, but if you’re squeamish about what you eat, you might not want to ask about the secret ingredient.

What is it?

Crickets.

Fazer’s CEO Markus Hellstrom said while it might sound strange, it could soon be the norm.

“If I would be making a guess this will become the food of the future, also for the Finnish market but how fast and how big it becomes that remains to be seen.”

But don’t worry. You won’t bite into the bread and find a crispy cricket staring back at you. The insects are ground down and then mixed with wheat flour and seeds.

Fazer said cricket bread actually contains more protein than normal wheat bread. Each loaf contains about 70 crickets and costs 3.99 euros ($4.72), compared with 2 to 3 euros for a regular wheat loaf.

The demand to find more food sources and a desire to treat animals more humanely has raised interest in using insects as a protein source in several Western countries.

In November, Finland joined five other European countries – Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Denmark – in allowing insects to be raised and marketed for food use.

A spokesman said Fazer had been developing the bread since last summer. It had to wait for legislation to be passed in Finland for the launch.

“It tastes like bread. It’s really good…. I don’t know!” said Sara Koivisto, a student from Helsinki after trying the new product.

Due to a limited supply of crickets, the insect-bread will initially only be sold in 11 Fazer bakery stores located in Helsinki region hypermarkets, but the company plans to offer it in all 47 of its stores by next year.

The company buys its cricket flour from the Netherlands, but said it was also looking for local suppliers.

Fazer, a family business with sales of about 1.6 billion euros last year, did not give a sales target for the product.

Insect-eating, or entomophagy, is common in much of the world. The United Nations estimated last year that at least 2 billion people eat insects and more than 1,900 species have been used for food.

In Western countries, edible bugs are gaining traction in niche markets, particularly among those seeking a gluten-free diet or wanting to protect the environment because farming insects uses less land, water and feed than animal husbandry.