3 Feb 2017

Bugs are the way of the future, NZ bug farmer says

From Checkpoint, 5:54 pm on 3 February 2017
Peter Randrup is on a mission to get more people eating bugs. Christchurch February 3 2017

Peter Randrup is on a mission to get more people eating bugs. Photo: RNZ / Conan Young

Peter Randrup runs Anteater, a company that makes food from bugs like locusts. He tells Checkpoint that it makes perfect sense to farm bugs, and eat them.

Anteater has been in business for a year selling farmed native locusts and ants gathered in the wild to high end restaurants.

The company was the idea of Peter Randrup and Rebecca De Prospo and is about far more than providing people with a novelty snack.

Mr Randrup said they wanted to meet a gap in the market but also encourage more to choose bugs over other forms of protein such as meat and fish which have a much larger carbon footprint.

"Insects are going to be a major part of the future protein mix. Food production is going to need to double by 2050 to feed everyone."

"At the moment it's not sustainable at all. Insects use a fraction of the water, [carbon dioxide] and land of conventional protein."

The native locusts are farmed in a shed in Southland. Anteater is selling them as fast as their supplier can grow them.

The ants live free on the range, however, meaning Mr Randrup has to harvest them from around Christchurch.

As for the taste, locusts have a subtle flavour and come with chilly salt to help lift things.

The texture of these winged delicacies, flash fried in a pan, is crunchy, but melt-in-the-mouth, and reporter Conan Young found them surprisingly "more-ish".

The ants are used as a garnish and to give extra flavour to other dishes - they taste of lemongrass with a faint blue cheese finish.

Anteater has big plans and wants to eventually export its bugs around the world, especially to Asia where eating insects is more accepted than in most western countries.