Get ready to add some extra crunch to your cooking, Australia. Supermarket chain IGA has announced the arrival of bugs in its aisles – edible insects to be precise.
The company claims to be the first major Australian food retailer to expand into edible crickets, by stocking shelf-stable energy bars, roasted whole crickets, powders and smoothie blends from organic Byron Bay brand Grilo.
The products are now on sale in selected IGA stores in NSW and Queensland.
The move is a response to a growing global appetite for more sustainable food sources and protein-rich diets, with the brand claiming to produce fewer greenhouse emissions and use less water, energy and land than traditional animal and livestock industries.
Grilo touts crickets' pleasant "mild, nutty flavour", and says the powders are a rich source of protein, vitamin B12, omega 3, iron, potassium and calcium that can easily be mixed into sweet and savoury dishes.
"Their nutrient density, sustainability and versatility make them a more sustainable and delicious protein alternative," the company said in a statement.
While eating insects has long occurred around the world, the practice is a recent trend in western countries and still faces significant resistance from consumers reluctant to add bugs to their diet.
In November, British supermarket chain Sainsbury's began stocking edible insects in a similar bid to promote eco-friendly food.
"Insect snacks should no longer be seen as a gimmick or something for a dare," the head of future brands at Sainsbury's, Rachel Eyre, said at the time.