Monthly Archives: February 2015

First UK insect restaurant to open in summer 2015

Grub LogoGrub Kitchen, the UK’s first restaurant championing entomophagy (the human consumption of insects), is set to open in the town of Haverfordwest near St Davids, Wales, this summer.

Although Wahaca, Archipelago and various pop-up restaurants have experimented with entomophagy over the past few years, Grub Kitchen will be the first with a menu fully focused around insect produce.

Incorporating insects such as grasshoppers, crickets and a variety of worms, dishes include a bug pick ‘n’ mix starter and bug burger main.

Founder and head chef Andrew Holcroft started his career working at The Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth, and most recently spent four years as head chef of Cwtch*, St Davids.

BugsHe said: “We want to pioneer the movement to normalise the eating of bugs on a day-to-day basis. We’re treating them as a normal food item, incorporating insect protein as an ingredient but using normal flavours we’re familiar with and everyday food items we recognise.

“I’m a firm believer that people aren’t going to stop eating meat – that goes against biology – so bugs are also going to sit next to normal dishes on the menu. For example, we’re serving both bug burgers and lamb kebabs.”

The restaurant will open as part of Dr Benyon’s Bug Farm, from which Holcroft’s partner, entomologist and TV personality Dr Sarah Benyon, will run insect workshops and information evenings. Along with cooking demonstrations and interactive tasting events at Grub Kitchen, the pair hope to raise awareness of the environmental and health benefits surrounding entomophagy.

Due to ambiguous farming regulations in the UK, Holcroft is currently importing insect produce from the Netherlands. He is in talks with the Food Standards Agency and hopes to be breeding insects for human consumption at the farm by 2016.

wAHACAMexican food chain Wahaca sold 1,500 plates a week of its fried-cricket special throughout January. Marketing manager Oli Ingham said: “The experiment has been a great step in the right direction and hopefully one that will change our food map forever. We hope we’ve inspired other restaurants to do the same thing.”

The chain’s flagship restaurant in Covent Garden is now serving a dish containing chorizo, cheese and chapulines (crickets), inspired by Mexican chef Alejandro Ruiz, throughout February and March.

A new smart way to shop

Shopping trolleys fitted with low-cost sensors and Bluetooth Smart technology could revolutionise the retail experience – pinpointing the location of trolleys within stores and alerting shoppers to promotions as they browse the aisles.

Shopping trolleyThe technology, pioneered by product design and development firm Cambridge Consultants, tells retailers a shopper’s location – in real time and without expensive infrastructure – to within one metre. This compares with a typical accuracy of 3-5 metres for existing solutions of this kind.

The latest innovation is a small device that fits on the wheel of each trolley – and doesn’t need batteries as it is powered via energy harvesting from the rotation of the wheel. Costs are kept to a minimum by using commercially available low-cost sensors and connectivity that allows the data to be managed on a hosted server.

The technology could spell the end of queues as it can be used to alert staff when customers are nearing checkouts, allowing them to automatically allocate assistants when they are needed most. And it could drastically cut the multi-million-pound annual cost of lost shopping trolleys as businesses could set alerts when they were being removed from their premises.

Around 40% of shopping spend is based on impulse buying, according to research by global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney. Influencing this impulse buying is a big part of supermarket strategies. Current methods rely on customers’ mobile phone apps, which have poor uptake as well as privacy concerns.

The ‘smart’ trolley, on the other hand, could interact directly with the customer during a shopping trip to pass on discount vouchers based on where they are in the supermarket. It could also map out the most efficient route through a store, based on each customer’s shopping list. And all without compromising privacy as there is no need for a mobile phone connection to capture the location data.

As well as enabling stores to target customers with relevant offers as they shop, data from smart trolleys could also be used by retailers to understand better what their customers decide not to buy – it could help highlight areas where customers stopped to browse but did not purchase anything.