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'People are loving them' says man behind Wairarapa company's cricket wraps


Eating a cricket wrap is still a bridge too far for most New Zealanders, but a Wairarapa company making the bug-based snacks says people are loving them.

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John Hart wants Kiwis to consider eating a different form of protein. Source: Seven Sharp

A commercial bakery called Breadcraft has set up New Zealand's first cricket farm on the outskirts of Masterton.

Crickets are grown there by cricket farmer John Hart who told Seven Sharp they're high in protein.

"There's about 50kg of protein in a cow. We can grow 50 kg of protein in a 40 foot container in probably less than a couple of months," he said.

"When they're dried, the powder is about 60 per cent protein. They've got all the amino acids."

Once the crickets make a particular chirp, they're ready to be harvested.

"We use nitrogen gas, so it's very quick and very painless for them," Mr Hart said.

The crickets then head to Breadcraft just over the road where they're turned into wraps.

Christopher Petersen, the driving force behind the cricket wraps at Breadcraft, said essentially they're the same as a normal wrap.

"But we've managed to fortify it with cricket flour which we've produced. And all that does is add extra protein and a few macronutrients," he said.

"People are buying them and eating them, and they're loving them."

Cricket wraps and even cricket popcorn were on the menu at the Sustainable Business Network Conference in Wellington.

"Cricket popcorn. Because it's crunchy. It's been fried. It's got beautiful spices around it. So you quickly transcend from this is an insect or pest into that was quite yummy!" said Laurie Foon, regional manager of the Sustainable Business Network as she tasted the treat.

The crowd at the Wellington event were pretty chirpy about the cricket-based foods.

But Seven Sharp reported the people there were "greenie groupies" and for the futuristic finger-food to become a modern morsel, the mainstream will have to hop on board.

There are currently no insect welfare standards in New Zealand, although there are in Europe, and cricket farmer John Hart adheres to the current European insect welfare guidelines.