Maggot ice cream touted as eco-friendly alternative to traditional dairy-made treat | World News
Raspberry ripple, chocolate chip or maggot?
Fans of the sweet treat could soon find grubs up in their cornet with the fly larvae being touted as a high-protein and sustainable alternative to the traditional dairy-made frozen product.
While interest has been growing in insects as a more eco-friendly food source in the West, a South African food maker has gone a step further and used maggots harvested from flies as a basis for ice cream.
Operating out of the Cape Town University of Technology, Gourmet Grubb processes the larvae of black soldier flies with other natural ingredients before mixing with flavours such as cocoa and honey in an ice cream-making machine.
Leah Bessa, head of product development at Gourmet Grubb, said: “Insects are typically environmentally friendly and sustainable to farm because they use very little land, water and food to grow on.
“They aren’t at risk of climate change because you can grow them in a controlled environment, sort of an enclosed area. So you don’t have the effects of drought and all those other things that are associated with climate change.
“And what’s really great is that they produce a lot of protein and fat and minerals, by growing on what would typically be considered a waste product.”
Dr Mike Picker, an insect ecologist at the University of Cape Town, agreed that fly larvae was nutritious, but doubted its broad appeal.
He said: “In Canada, and certainly in France, there are gourmet insect burgers that are available.
“They’re actually nutritionally ideal for us and they taste very good. The problem is one of culture – convincing people that this is something that they should be able to eat.
“Certainly from an environmental perspective they’re less damaging than the meat industry which currently accounts for about 25% of global emissions, and that’s of huge concern.
“Personally I’m not sure I’d be interested in an ice cream or dairy product made of fly larvae simply because there are a number of delicious plant-based alternatives available, and culturally they’re much easier to stomach.”
Gourmet Grubb sells its insect ice cream at a weekly market in Cape Town.
Customer Daoyi Liu said: “It tastes organic – basically how you’d expect a vegan ice cream to taste.
“So it’s nothing too unusual for sure, something I could expect people eating quite comfortably.”
Pieter Roodt said: “It tastes pretty good. It tastes like ice cream should taste.
“A little bit more earthy, a bit more organic taste. But I’m pretty happy.
“I was pretty excited when I heard they’ve got an insect ice cream here in Cape Town, because I’ve heard and I’ve read and I’ve sort of seen things where people are saying that insects are the way of the future in terms of creating sustainable food sources.
“Cattle farming is taking up a lot of resources and farming insects will be a lot more sustainable.”
Thomas Bartleman, head of business development and strategy at Gourmet Grubb, believes products like ice cream are helping to make insect food acceptable to western tastes.
He said: “You think ‘insects’ – and a lot of people have a mental barrier associated with that.
“But the ice cream has played a significant role in helping, especially the western consumers, overcome that mental barrier.”
He said the firm had plans to open its first shop and hoped to expand the business to Europe and the United States.