Fazer unfazed at being first to sell insect bread

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

© Fazer
© Fazer

Related tags Wheat

Fazer is introducing cricket-based bread to its bakery stores in a move that the Finnish bakery group is claiming as a world first.

Fazer Sirkkaleipä (Fazer Cricket Bread), which lists flour made from ground house crickets (Acheta domesticus​) as an ingredient, is now available in Fazer’s 11 in-store bakeries located in Finland.

With one loaf containing around 70 ground house crickets, the product contains more protein than normal wheat bread and costs €3.99 compared with €2-3 for a regular wheat loaf.

“We made a crunchy dough to enhance taste and increase mouthfeel,”​ said Juhani Sibakov, director of innovation at Fazer Bakery.

“Cricket bread is a good source of protein. Insects also contain good fatty acids, calcium, iron and vitamin B12.”

Europe coming round to bug food

Finland now joins its Scandinavian neighbour Denmark along with Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Austria as the only European countries that permit insects to be reared and marketed for food purposes.

Finland’s entry into this group was confirmed at the start of this month, when the ban on selling insects as food was lifted.

Progress has also been decisive in Switzerland. In May its government allowed the sale of products containing three types of insects: crickets, grasshoppers and mealworms.

August saw Swiss start-up Essento launch a range of insect burgers and meatballs in the country’s supermarkets after rules were extended beyond their use in pet food.

Essento’s insect burgers blend flourworms with rice and vegetables such as carrots, celery and leeks and are now available at several Coop supermarkets located in Geneva, Bern and Zurich.

Meanwhile Fubico co, launched 21 Bites back in September. This online shop, which sells insect-based sports, pasta, snacks and cookie goods products, provides a window for a range of European manufacturers that include, Gyro, EatGrub, Jiminis and Micronutris.

Fazer flour alternatives

Fazer’s venture into the world of insect-derived food is a response to the growing European interest in insect-eating, or entomophagy, as an environmentally friendlier way of sourcing protein.

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.

Along with its environmental credentials, this food source appeals to those seeking a gluten-free diet as Sibakov added “Mankind needs new and sustainable sources of nutrition”.

“According to research, of all the Nordic countries, Finns have the most positive attitudes towards insects. We are looking forward to seeing how our novelty bread is received.”

Demand might have exceeded supply as Fazer admitted current cricket flour quantities made a nationwide roll-out impossible.

The firm said that Fazer Cricket Bread would be available in all 47 Fazer in-store bakeries in Finland in the next wave.

“We wanted to be in the forefront of food revolution,”​ said Markus Hellström, managing director of Fazer Bakery Finland.

“We want to boost growth in the bread category with hand-made artisanal bread, also in the future.

“In the Fazer in-store bakeries, we can easily bake and test different kinds of novelties. The first-in-the-world Fazer Cricket Bread is a great example of this.”   

The Fazer Cricket Bread is one of Fazer Bakery’s products where flour is replaced with nutritious raw materials.

The firm also make available its Root Vegetable Bread and Fazer Seed Bread, where one third of the flour was replaced by vegetables and seeds.

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