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French Noodle Maker Is Struggling to Keep Up with Demand for Insect Pasta

When artisanal pasta maker Stephanie Richard added insects to her pasta on a whim, she had know idea what a huge hit it would become. The demand for her ‘protein-rich’, crunchy noodles is now so huge that she’s struggling to keep up with orders!

Richards, who strongly believes that insects are “the protein of the future”, said she got the idea for adding them to pasta in 2012, while trying to develop a high-protein version for athletes. That’s when an insect distributor in eastern Lyon contacted her about adding bugs to her pasta, and she was completely sold on the idea. She started producing insect flour pasta around Christmas that year, and the product pretty much started flying off the shelves. Her shop launched the unusual pasta just before the winter holidays, and sold around 500 bags in a matter of days.

Photo: Pasta Délices/Facebook

Richards uses pulverized crickets or grasshoppers for her unique pasta, but likes to sometimes mix the two and throw in some ground cepe mushrooms into the blend for extra flavor. “There’s a kind of nutty taste thanks to the cepes, making it taste more like whole wheat pasta,” she explained. The ratio used is seven percent insect flour to 93 percent organic spelt wheat flour, with whole eggs added to the mix.

The result is a brownish pasta that’s shaped into fusilli, spaghetti, penne, and radiatori, priced at six euros ($6.60) per 250-gram package. Insect-flour pasta is obviously more expensive than the regular kind, but according to Richards, it’s a great replacement for meat for vegetarians. She’s also working on a new recipe that incorporates Maroilles cheese from northern France.

Photo: Pasta Délices

“The name of the ingredient might be a turnoff, but it’s really delicious, especially with game meat,” said Alain Limon, the only employee at Richard’s store, Pasta Délices –  Atelier a Pates , in Thiefosse, northeastern France. Limon will soon be joined by more staff, as Richards is looking to expand operations to accommodate the growing demand for her insect-flour pasta. The little shop is currently producing around 400 kilos per week.

“The insect is the protein of the future,” Richard says. “It’s protein of high quality that is well digested by the body.” A 2013 report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization notes that insects have “huge potential for feeding both people and livestock.

 

As a matter of fact, insects have become a popular protein source for humans, so much so that we now even have an insect cookbook, insect candy and even ant-based gin.

Source: CTV News/AFP

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