Bitten by the chocolate bug

Yuck or yum . . . Blue Mountain College year 12 pupils Mitchel Robinson and Liam Goble, both 16, had a go at eating chocolate, peri peri and salted bugs for an experiment in their agribusiness class. PHOTO: EVELYN THORN

Eating bugs was a conversation starter in Tapanui last week.
Blue Mountain College’s year 12 agribusiness class is conducting an inquiry into the use of organisms to meet future needs.
The pupils are investigating whether people would introduce insects as a source of protein into their diets.
The class is conducting the study for an internal assessment for NCEA credits.
Agribusiness teacher Liz Murray said the pupils looked into the benefits of eating the insects.
‘‘We have researched and found out that insects are rich in protein, low in carbohydrates and contain essential minerals, including iron, calcium and magnesium.
‘‘They are also rich in unsaturated fat.’’
The class purchased edible insects from a New Zealand company to brave the stigma and see if they would enjoy eating them.
They bought chocolate-coated scorpions, peri peri crickets, a salted insect mixture of crickets, grasshoppers and meal worms and cricket flour, which pupils made chocolate brownies with.
Pupil Mitchel Robinson said it was something to try, but he ‘‘would not do it again’’.
‘‘It was definitely fun to try, but they didn’t taste that good.’’
Another pupil, Caden Sin, was not impressed with the idea of eating bugs in everyday life.
‘‘I just do not want to eat bugs.
‘‘I haven’t eaten raw ones yet but the idea is pretty bad for a primary source of protein.’’
Mrs Murray said rural town mentality may have played a part in eating the cricket flour chocolate brownie.
‘‘Many pupils thought the brownie tasted good and rated it highly, until they learned or remembered it was made from cricket flour.
‘‘Some pupils said they would eat it again.’’
The class created a survey with various questions on beliefs and opinions people may hold on insect protein for food.
They will write up a report considering how legal, ethical, environmental, social and scientific influences could affect New Zealand’s use of insects developing in the future.
A survey was posted on the Blue Mountain College Facebook page last month that people can fill out.