Belfast to try insects as part of ‘Menu of the Future’

entomopagy3 (compressed)

The Society of Biology are giving adventurous visitors the chance to sample tasty insect-based treats, at ‘Menu of the Future’ in Belfast onSaturday 21st and Sunday 22nd February.

As part of the first Northern Ireland Science Festival (http://www.nisciencefestival.com/), the Society of Biology will run cooking demonstrations, taster sessions and hands-on activities, in order to challenge people to think differently about what we eat and the effect it has on us and the environment.

With 100 events taking place over 11 days, NI’s inaugural Science Festival runs from February 19 to March 1 and promises to offer something for everyone. The extravaganza will comprise of entertaining and informative events across venues such as the BBC, W5, Titanic Belfast, Queen’s University Belfast, the Black Box, the Nerve Centre and the Ulster Museum. For more information about the NI Science Festival programme log on to www.nisciencefestival.com

Dr Penny Fletcher MSB, events and public engagement manager at the Society of Biology, said: “Food security for our growing global population is one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century. With the increasing financial and environmental costs associated with our current eating habits, sustainable alternatives need to be explored.”

“Rearing insects to feed humans and animals could be a valuable tool in producing enough food in a way that keeps us and our planet healthy.”

Dishes available to try on the ‘Menu of the Future’ will include:
  • roasted cricket sticks dipped in a choice of BBQ, sweet chilli or chocolate sauce; 
  • pan-fried chilli crickets with onion, chives and ginger;
  • chocolate brownies topped with syrup-soaked mealworms.

It is estimated that insects already form part of the traditional diets of at least 2 billion people worldwide and more than 1,900 species have reportedly been used as food.

Rearing insects for food and animal feed has many benefits, including a low environmental impact. Crickets are twice as efficient in converting feed to meat as chicken, at least four times more efficient than pigs, and 12 times more efficient than cattle. Insects are reported to emit fewer greenhouse gases and less ammonia than cattle or pigs, and they require significantly less land and water than cattle rearing.

Eating insects also benefits human health. Insects are a highly nutritious and healthy food source with high fat, protein, vitamin, fibre and mineral content. For example, the composition of unsaturated omega-3 and six fatty acids in mealworms is comparable with that in fish (and higher than in cattle and pigs), and the protein, vitamin and mineral content of mealworms is similar to that in fish and meat.

The Society of Biology’s ‘Menu of the Future’ event, in partnership with Bugs for Life, will take place from 10am – 3pm onSaturday 21st and Sunday 22nd February at St George’s Market, 12-20 East Bridge Street, Belfast, Antrim, BT1 3NQ. More information about Menu of the Future: https://societyofbiology.org/events/event_menuofthefutureinstgeorgesmarketnorthernirelandsciencefestival

Live cooking demonstrations with samples will take place at 12 noon and 2pm on both days. This is a free drop-in event and no registration is required.
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