When you think of food science, you’re likely to picture an upscale restaurant serving a gastronomical feat – such as a balloon made of sugar – or the creation of a hybrid fruit. However, an assistant professor in Central’s Department of Human Environmental Sciences, Dr. Kanika Bhargava (Ph.D.), suggests that insects may be in food science’s future.
Insects? Like bugs?
You heard right.
“Insects as a food ingredient are gaining interest,” Dr. Bhargava said. That’s why Central’s Nutrition and Food Science Program, along with the Oklahoma section of the Institute of Food Technologists, hosted a lecture featuring Aaron T. Dossey, Ph.D., during UCO’s Food Science Symposium.
The lecture, a part of the Spring 2017 symposium, focused on the chemical and biological diversity of invertebrates (animals without backbones) to develop sustainable technologies and products in the areas of agriculture, food and medicine.
The symposium also featured the Cricket Powder Fortified Baked Good Tasting Event, which challenged UCO food and nutrition majors to bake muffins, brownies, cereal bars and sourdough bread with 15 to 20 percent cricket powder.
You read that correctly. Cricket powder – as in, powder made of crickets.
Dossey is editor of the new book “Insects as Sustainable Food Ingredients” and the founder of All Things Bugs, a company that develops sustainable eco-friendly technologies from insects to improve food security and health. Dossey earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from Oklahoma State University and a doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of Florida. He is collaborating with Central’s Dr. Bhargava to apply advanced processing and evaluation technologies to insect-based food ingredients.
This type of technology is gaining traction, as symposium guests included Oklahoma food industry professionals from SONIC, Clements Foods Company, AdvancePierre Foods, BlendTech, McDonald’s Corporation, Shawnee Milling Company and OSU.
The symposium is part of Central’s Nutrition and Food Science graduate program, which strives to connect its students with internationally recognized faculty of registered dieticians and certified food scientists.
Who knew the future of food could be so buggy?