Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Insect cookery kit makes Edinburgh Napier university degree show

Courtney Yule Image copyright Edinburgh Napier University
Image caption Courtney Yule with her insect cakes

An Edinburgh student has created a cookery kit to encourage people to eat insects as part of their daily diet.

Creepy-crawlies like beetles, caterpillars and grasshoppers are a staple food in many parts of the world.

However, despite them being low in fat and calories and containing as much protein as beef, many in the Western world steer clear of eating insects.

As part of her degree show, student Courtney Yule has designed a "starter kit" for turning them into a meal.

The 22-year-old, who is in the final year of a product design course at Edinburgh Napier University, was inspired by studies identifying entomophagy - eating insects - as the best way to feed the growing global population.

Insect flour

Harvesting insects is also seen by experts as more environmentally-friendly than traditional livestock farming which requires land, crops for feed, and animals and machinery which produce greenhouse gases.

The plastic Entopod includes a grinder to create insect flour to bake into recipes or add to shakes, and detachable containers to heat food in the oven, microwave or on a cooker.

Insect fondue is also a possibility with the addition of a candle underneath the leg stand, and the reverse ends of the eating utensils used as skewers.

Insect snacks can also be stored in the detachable containers for lunch.

The device is one of hundreds of exhibits created by students to be showcased at Edinburgh Napier's 2015 Degree Show from 22 May.

Miss Yule said: "The main barrier is obviously getting consumers to accept the idea of eating insects. Before I began this work I didn't even like to touch them, but I don't have any problem with eating them now and it is a practice which is growing in popularity every day.

"People think nothing about eating prawns and shrimps but they have a different reaction to grasshoppers and crickets. However, the more you read about the health benefits, the less bothered you become.

"You can do anything with insects; sweet and sour grasshopper, mealworm macaroni, lime and ginger locusts or cricket cookies."

Miss Yule carried out research which found most people would consider eating insects.

However, many did find the look off-putting, even those who enjoyed lobster or prawns. The taste and texture of the initial bite often came as a pleasant surprise, and she decided there would be interest in a 'starter kit' which allowed people to experiment with entomophagy.

Miss Yule, from Berwick-upon-Tweed, added: "A lot of people are now supplying dried insects but in the course of my research I have not seen any other products which help in preparing them to eat.

"I am now at the stage of tweaking design components, and although the prototype is white I am also working on bright neon and anodised colours resembling the natural colouring of insects.

"After the degree show, I will be taking it down to the New Designers show in London in July."

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