Summer is all about fresh ingredients and recipes and the BBC Good Food Show Summer in the City, which took place at London’s ExCeL 20-22nd May, was a great place to find culinary inspiration, lunch ideas and healthy snacks and treats, as well as recipes and advice from some of the best in the foodie business.
We were fortunate enough to be able to give five of our lucky readers the opportunity to visit the show, which this year combined with the BBC Good Food Eat Well Show. But if you weren’t able to make it to the show, we’ve got a round up of some of the featured products, which promise to do good not only by our bellies but by the planet too.
Amidst the recent health implications linked to red meat and the sustainability issues around livestock farming, insects are becoming a more viable and accepted source of nutrition in Western culture and have long been a staple of diets across the world. Insects are already available to buy as food in the UK, but Gathr takes things one step further by using them as a key ingredient and incorporating them into their energy bars.
At the show, two new flavours were launched – Coffee, Vanilla, & Cricket Flour, and Raspberry, Cacao & Cricket flour. These are in addition to the existing flavours of Peanut & Cricket Flour made with peanuts, sultanas, dates, sunflower seeds and cricket flour, and Cacao & Cricket Flour, an energy bar made with cacao, chia, goji berries, cranberries and cricket flour.
If you’re wondering about the taste, you needed worry, all flavours are delicious, and with crickets containing twice as much iron as spinach as well as a good dose of vitamin B12, they’re really good for you. But they’re also great for the planet too.
Up to 80% of a cricket is digestible, compared with 40% for cattle, which means less food waste. Crickets also emit 80 times less CO2, require 12 times less feed than cattle and require significantly less water than cattle rearing – to produce 1lb of crickets takes just four litres of water compared to 9000 litres for 1lb of beef! They are also farmed without the use of antibiotics, hormones or pesticides offering additional environmental, health and economic benefits.
One word of caution though – whilst the bars are gluten free, dairy free, free from added sugar and Paleo friendly, crickets are arthopods, just like shrimps, and some people who are allergic to shrimps have also shown allergic reactions to insects. Until more studies are done, it is probably best to avoid insects if you know you are allergic to shellfish/ crustaceans. For more information visit Gathrfoods.com.
A natural peanut butter from New Zealand, Pic’s is touted as one of the healthiest Peanut Butters on the planet. Using Hi-Oleic peanuts from Australia, they roast, crush and seal them fresh to create a great tasting peanut butter. Currently the #1 selling peanut butter in New Zealand and Singapore, whilst tasting fab, their Hi-Oleic peanut butter packs a nutritional punch too.
According to Foodwatch.com, Hi-Oleic peanuts have healthier fats and acids than your average peanut, more fiber and protein and a long list of other nutritious health benefits. Pic’s peanut butter is made using just crushed peanuts and a pinch of salt (although they also do a no-salt version), which means no palm oils or any other oil in fact and no sugars, additives or preservatives. They are also vegan and halal friendly.
Looking at their nutritional information, Pic’s appear to have the peanut prowess:
- Hi-Oleic Acids Helps with digestion, create energy after eating & increases fullness
- High Monounsaturated Fats Increases the body’s ability to use fat as a source of fuel vs storing
- Higher Protein content supplies amino acids for the building and repair of muscle tissue
- More Fibre for a healthy digestive system
- Lots of vitamin E with just 2 tbsp giving a woman 20% and men 29% of their daily recommended amount. This also helps slow down the effects of ageing & inflammation.
- Lots of Vitamin B3 with 2 tbsp giving a woman 30% and men 25% of their daily amount of this vitamin, which helps maintain a healthy liver & nervous system
As well as being nutritionally sound, Pic’s also ensure a sustainable approach to their production methods – in fact the power for the Nelson factory in which the peanut butter is produced comes from a hydro-powered plant.
They also recycle all their jars and constantly encourage their customers to as well. They’ve also printed a poem on the inside of the label, which customers can enjoy reading after they’ve removed the label to recycle.
Other ways in which they encourage their customers to recycle are:
- Offering discounts at the markets if they return the jar. On their new labels they’ll have information on where you can get a discount
- Encouraging creativity with the jar recycling like using them to make some jam or as a vase or drinking glass.
- Donating the jars to the local community. In December they donated a few cases to a school in Elephant and Castle, London, where they used them to create snow globes. More information on their upcycling projects can be found here and for more information on Pic’s Peanut Butter, visit www.picspeanutbutter.com.
Jimini was another brand at the show that also featured crickets. But not just crickets…The first French brand to introduce edible insects as an appetizer, Jimini’s uses 3 main insects in their products – crickets, grasshoppers and mealworm.
Whilst Jimini’s also make energy bars with cricket flour, dried fruits, almonds and agave syrup in a range of four flavours – Banana & Dark Chocolate, Dark chocolate & Fig, Apricot, Goji and Chia and Apple and Cinnamon – their main area of expertise is flavoured edible insects.
There are 9 original and natural flavourings for their edible insects. Your can choose to have grasshopper in Pepper & Dried Tomatoes, Greek Spices, Fruity Curry or Paprika. If meal worm is more your thing, these little guys come in Sesame & Cumin, Imperial Soy and Garlic & Herbs. Lastly, the crickets are available in Sweet Mango or Smoked Onion BBQ. You can eat these straight from the box like you would a handful of nuts of use them to spruce up your culinary creations. Yes, it does seem a little odd atfirst shoving a seasoned grasshopper or handful of dried little meal worms into your mouth, but once you get your head around the novelty they taste just like crisps or flavoured roast kale.
Again, the nutritional benefits of insects is hard to beat. They naturally contain proteins in large quantities as well as omega-3 and omega-6 – in fact 100 grams of edible insects provide 60 grams of protein. In addition to being healthy and natural, they also have a host of environmental benefits as seen earlier. This is an important benefit and worth re-iterating, particularly when you consider that 70% of the land on Earth is exploited to feed our livestock.
In keeping with the eco-credentials of the insects, Jimini’s products use no artificial coloring or preservatives and all their boxes that the insects are packaged in are manufactured from 50% recycled cardboard.
With the population set to increase to 9 billion in 2050, edible insects could be the sustainable answer to meeting the increasing global nutritional needs. Visit www.jiminis.com for more information.
Founded by Nutritionist Suzie Walker, The Primal Pantry is the UK’s first Paleo Bar. Armed with nothing more than her kitchen blender, some dried fruit, coconut and nuts, Suzie embarked upon a mission to create the perfect Paleo bar. There are five energy bars in the range, each made with no more than six ingredients and zero percent junk. Designed to provide people living a Primal lifestyle with the opportunity to buy a natural energy snack that they could carry around on-the-go, these bars are suitable for vegans and vegetarians and all bars are free from GMOs, gluten, grains, dairy, soy and refined sugar.
SleepyLove is a pure organic hot drink made with a blend of mango and Bach blossoms, aimed at providing a calming effect that can help to promote a healthy night’s sleep.
Alain Indria, owner of the Lombardia Organic Restaurant in Antwerp and creator of SleepyLove explains how to enjoy the true benefits of this organic hot drink.
“Take the drink to bed, focus on the scent of mango emanating from SleepyLove for a moment, which will instantly provide a calming effect on your mind and body. Clasp your mug in both hands. Experience the glow that radiates your cup of SleepyLove and focus on it for a short while. Take a careful sip of this delicious drink. Experience the different nuances of flavour in your mouth, on your tongue against your palate. Let the mango and the Bach blossom slowly exert their effect on you. Then glide away gently into a delicious sleep. And wake up feeling refreshed and buoyant the next morning.”
SleepyLove is organic, RAW, vegan and unsweetened giving you only sweet dreams! For those warmer summer nights you can also enjoy SleepyLove Mango Organic as a delicious cold drink too.
Also in the range is GingerLove, a 100% organic, herbal and RAW fruit drink, which is certified vegan and so contains absolutely no animal ingredients, nor GMO’s. It’s also gluten-free and cholesterol-free and is a rich source of natural fibres.
Angie is our resident features writer on location in London, specialising in festivals, food and nutrition, and with a keen interest in ethical fashion.