Crunchy crickets going mainstream in Australia?

Fri Sep 30, 2011 4:37am EDT
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By Pauline Askin

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Looking for a taste treat for a special snack? Perhaps a packet of chocolate covered bugs, chocolate-chip mealworms or cricket lollipops will hit the spot.

Australia's Aborigines have been eating witchetty grubs for centuries, but now etymologist Skye Blackburn is breeding edible bugs and selling them to Australians from all walks of life, and as special treats at corporate functions and children's parties.

"Eating insects is a fairly new concept," said Blackburn, who runs The Green Scorpion and bug shop, a Sydney-based online venture that sells the creatures for human and animal consumption, as well as for collections.

"On Father's Day we sold a lot of gift packs, which included chocolate covered bugs, choc-chip mealworm cookies and flavored lollipops with bugs in the center."

As with many business ventures, the beginning was serendipitous.

"We were doing a pet and animal expo, and needed a good promotional item to get people to come over to the stall. So we started making the lollipops and they were really successful," she said.

She also sells bugs ground up into chocolate-coated cookies, frozen bugs and roasted bugs, so they can be mailed to customers.

A trial pack retails for A$20 ($19.64). The bugs can be bought by the 100 grams or in kilogram lots.   Continued...