20/11/2015

Inspiration From...C-fu Foods

By Clem Cartwright

We take inspiration from C-fu Foods, whose research into innovative and sustainable sources of nutrition is leading us to new, exciting and unexpected diets, designed to help feed the world's growing population. 

Rising food prices, the growing population and grave concerns for the environment are just a few of the issues that have organisations worrying about how we will feed ourselves in the future.

As the current global livestock industry we face emits more greenhouse gases than planes, trains and automobiles combined (Chatham House report), it should not be difficult to see why we need to adopt novel attitudes to food. Quite the opposite in fact; it should provide a hugely exciting opportunity to experiment with alternative protein sources that reduce the need for land use and produce far less carbon footprint. So what’s the problem?

The challenge lies in getting consumers used to the idea of somewhat surprising and unexpected new habits of eating. We’ve seen more and more plant-based products emerging in the supermarkets including algae, baobab fruit, seaweed and birch water. Naturally, this research into innovative and sustainable sources of nutrition has led us towards another new diet; entomophagy, the practice of eating insects. Edible insects (of which there are over 1900) represent a far more sustainable alternative to farmed meat and constitute a highly nutritious protein source for the nine billion plus who will need food by 2050.

Food plays a huge role in social and cultural identity and consuming insects seems far from our local behaviour and culture. For entomophagic brands to successfully build insect meal into our culture, they need to extract it from the ‘bizarre foods’ category, eliminate the ‘shock factor’ and position it as a normative act.

It is for this reason that this month we take inspiration from Canadian brothers, Eli and Lee Cadesky who are tackling the challenge face-on with C-fu FOODS, a brand that marks a fantastic and positive step forward in creating more sustainable diets.

C-fu FOODS uses novel food science processes to advance insect-based foods and provide brands and chefs with an opportunity to explore the sustainable insect taxonomy. This isn’t to say that restaurants will be providing cocktails of mealworms and crickets from now on. C-fu is a recipe as much as it is a food; it’s a versatile tool for formulating different foods that both resemble and taste like their meat counterparts from a highly nutritious and sustainable protein source.

Their innovative processes preserve both protein and fat which is why on the C-fu menu you can find both healthy meat replacements with the likes of burgers, chilli con carne and nuggets as well as an adaptable alternative to dairy with their delicious cookies and ice cream.

We recently met with Lee and Eli at Food Matters Live and it was great to see that they were not alone in their efforts. Neighbouring them in the Sustainable Edibles stalls were superfood brands Mara Seaweed and SoSense offering salt and MSG replacements as well as Gathr Foods presenting their cricket-flour protein bars.

We hope to see many more exciting brands following in the path of C-fu as we begin the journey to establish entomophagy more firmly in the West.

 “If it looks good, eat it” – Andrew Zimmern 

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