UK cricket flour energy bar wins ife 2017 Sustainable Packaging Award

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Yumpa, a range of energy bars made with cricket flour, is the first of its kind in Europe to have an EU accredited fully compostable wrapper.

The packaging won Yumpa’s maker Next Step Foods a World Food Innovation Award for Sustainable Packaging at this year’s ife, held in London last month.

According to Tony Askins, founder of Sheffield-based Next Step Foods, the eco-friendly packaging streamlines with the sustainability of crickets.

“Crickets are the most sustainable form of animal protein there is,” he told BakeryandSnacks at ife, where the company was exhibiting its flagship brand.

He claimed the creatures need a fraction of the space, resources and feed that other farm animals do, and produce a lot less pollution.

The bars are wrapped in Vinçotte compostable packaging made from plant-based materials, supplied by packaging solutions provider Parkside Flex.

It’s a bug … no, it’s a bar

Askins developed the bars after noticing the growth of insect flour-based products in the US.

“It’s still a niche market, but it’s growing,” he said.

“We tweaked the idea and added fruits, nuts and seeds,” he told us, adding the company sources the cricket flour from Thailand.

“There are over 20 000 cricket farms in Thailand, plus several in Canada and Euorpe,” said Atkins. “We would like to eventually source the flour closer to home.”

 Each Yumpa contains 32 powdered crickets and is free from gluten, dairy, soya and sulphites, with no added sugar and high in fiber.

The bars are made by a contract manufacturer in Chesterfield, but Atkins said he slices the fruit by hand, as he claimed the texture of the ingredients play an important role in satiety.

“I personally chop the apricots and cranberries myself because we couldn’t get the grade of fruit that we wanted to get a nice bite,” he said.

Yumpa is available in two flavors – including Tangy Thai coconut, lime and ginger) and Cocoa-a-go-go (chocolate, orange and cardamom). The company will be launching a third flavour – Peanut Salt Crunch (peanuts, sea salt, cranberries and ‘crunchy bits’) later in the year.

The upside of creepy crawly cuisine

When it comes to the ‘icky’ or ‘yuk’ factor, Askins says there is a flip side to the negativity of eating insects. “It will appeal to a diametrically opposed audience who are looking for clean eating, Paleo friendly and sustainable food products,” he said.

Yumpa is currently sold online, but Askins is hoping the product will be available through retail outlets in the UK and EU, “particularly the north west, where countries like Scandinavia have a big interest in sustainability.”

The bars retail for £2.29 ($2.85) per 45g bar, and are also available in a nine bar box for £18.99 ($23.65).

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