Edible bugs business says 'it's growing' but What Next finds most Kiwis not tempted

The idea of eating bugs instead of beef doesn't go down well with most New Zealanders, a survey shows, even though a local business importing edible bugs from Thailand reckons demand is growing.

Edible protein is a growing food trend but would you eat cricket flour? Source: Seven Sharp

Last night's episode of TVNZ1's 'What Next' series asked if we'd be willing to eat bugs instead of beef to help the environment.

The programme found 45 per cent of women would do so, while 48 per cent of men would. 

Thirty-six per cent of rural people would be willing to eat bugs, less keen than the 47 per cent or urban dwellers prepared to do so.

Seven Sharp found a couple of Kiwis who not only would eat bugs but also have the largest range of edible insects in the world. 

Dan Craig and Matt Genefaas started the company Crawlers four years ago, importing bugs, mostly crickets and grasshoppers, from Thailand, the edible-bug capital of the world. 

"Cricket flour contains 68 per cent protein, more calcium than milk, it's high in B12 and iron, it's an all-round good food for your body," Mr Craig said."

He said by 2050 there will be nine billion people on the planet, and not enough protein in forms of meat to be able to feed everybody.

The insects arrive whole and dehydrated. They're then roasted, seasoned and distributed around New Zealand and the world.

"It's growing and we never thought we'd be here in four years. And it's amazing," Mr Craig said.

Mr Genefaas said: "When we explain to mums and dads in their forties and fifties, they're the ones that freak out the most. But kids don't. It's taking away perceptions. They try it and they're like 'oh wow, this isn't what I was expecting at all'."

Seven Sharp took to the street in Auckland with biscuits that each contained 10 crickets, and they went down well with people who tried them.