Back to the future

by Theresa Rogers

6_EditorLetterBack to the Future Day – October 21, 2015 – the day Marty McFly and Doc Brown visited in the famous movie, Back to the Future II, seems to have taken the world by storm. The internet and media were all over it, going through the movie bit by bit and analyzing what the movie got right and wrong.

It reminded me of my trip to Chicago for IFT in July. One of my first stops was the Mintel booth where I ate a cricket! Bugs, as you’ve heard by now, are the wave of the protein future, proponents say. Two years ago a team of five McGill students won the prestigious Hult Prize, a competition involving thousands of students from around the world, and a $1 million award to help implement a plan to formalize the existing insect markets around the world and promote innovative insect farming practices. That’s just one example.

The idea isn’t new, though it may be to people in the West. A UN Food and Agriculture Organization report says 2.5 billion people eat insects seasonally worldwide. But with insect consumption being around for millennia and insect farming for centuries, the challenge for the McGill team wasn’t to alter palettes (though there may be a need for that!) but correct market imbalances and allow access to the insects year-round and affordably.

Protein consumption is a hot topic with 2016 being designated the International Year of Pulses (IYP) by the UN. The aim of the IYP 2016, they say, is to heighten public awareness of the nutritional benefits of pulses as part of sustainable food production aimed toward food security and nutrition.
Pulses would certainly be more palatable for me and I’m sure many other Canadian shoppers. The problem is first, awareness of them, and second, finding creative ways to use them. I’ve been incorporating them as a healthy option in my diet, though my kids and husband have not been able to embrace them in their whole form. Hidden in flour in a cake is acceptable but then again, you can also use insects to make flour.

In this issue, our Frenemies story explores the traditional meat versus pulses debate. The story says only 13% of Canadians consume pulses daily and that this group only eats approximately one serving of pulses per day. That means there is plenty of room to grow pulse consumption without dramatically decreasing meat consumption.

Our Mintel Intel feature focuses on pea protein and how it’s impacting the food and drink industry because of its gluten-free, vegan and high protein applications. Pea protein also poses little threat to allergy sufferers.

Plenty of options for manufacturers looking to enter the fray. As always, consumers will let us know if we got it right or wrong.

Theresa Rogers

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