The world’s going a little “ento-crazy” about the potential of insect proteins to address humanity’s future nutritional needs in a planet-friendly way.
There’s nothing new about eating insects; humans have been doing it for thousands of years, and every day millions of people, especially in Asia and Africa, continue to do so. But now there’s big money, smart technology and bold ideas buzzing around intensive insect farming and insect foods (entomophagy)
At Absolute Organix, we find these trends important and irresistibly fascinating, and we plan to be part of the ento-adventure. So we’ve made it easy for you to try out insect foods in a decidedly non-yucky way by introducing two dried mopani worm products.
TrueFood Mopani Salt and TrueFood Mopani Hot Spice will add a distinctly African flavour to your meals. Earthy and nutrient-dense, they’re a trendy addition to every “woke” pantry.
There’s robust demand for mopani worms across Southern Africa where they’ve been a delicacy for millennia (the worms get their name from the tree they feed on), and a vibrant informal trade in
mopani criss-crosses the borders of Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana.
Mopani caterpillars are rich in protein (our samples show approx 58% protein content), but the chitin – the exoskeleton of the caterpillar – is known to limit amino acid absorption somewhat (on the upside, chitin is a good source of fibre). See the nutritional analysis of our mopani powder here: Mopani nutritionals.
As far as micro-nutrients go, mopani offer up a feast of minerals, with high levels of potassium, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc and iron.
The road to launching mopani products has been somewhat arduous. Because the mopani are typically wild-harvested and sun-dried in remote areas under less-than-ideal hygienic conditions, microbial issues have been a challenge. But we have now solved that problem by using a sophisticated, Swiss, super-saturated dry steam sterilisation technology. It’s a potent pathogen-killing process that does not denature the product and ensures it is perfectly safe for consumption.
Because mopani are key source of income – and nutrition – for often-impoverished rural communities, there are big challenges to be addressed around sustainability. Over-harvesting can have a damaging impact on this important resource. Climate change is not helping either.
That being said, properly managed, there’s a growing sense that mopani have the potential to become an African superfood. Harvested sustainably and at scale, they could become an important part of the region’s (protein) food chain in the 21st Century. See this link for some excellent research into the potential of mopani.
In the wellness world, mopani are a novel additional protein source for those following the Paleo hunter-gatherer diet. And for those who want to break through their cultural prejudices and the “yuk” factor of eating insects, our mopani powder-based products are an easy – and dare we say tasty – way to introduce insects into one’s diet.
A journey always starts with a single step, and Absolute Organix has taken its first into the world of entomophagy. You’re invited to walk alongside us to share ideas and discuss opportunities. Contact: Bruce Cohen bruce (at) absoluteorganix.co.za
# If you’re interested in buying sterilised mopani powder to develop your own products, please contact us.
# Here’s a somewhat hyped-up story from the BBC on how insect foods are starting to hit the High Street in Britain.
# If you want see/taste some cutting-edge local innovation in entomophagy, Cape Town-based Gourmet Grubb is working on insect alternatives to dairy.