The secret for convincing people to eat insects - Bugible Founder reveals how she does it.
We spoke to Aly Moore, Founder of Bugible and Eat Bug Events, about her involvement in the edible insect industry, her favourite bug recipes, and her secret for getting people to try bugs!
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Can you start off by telling us a bit about yourself and what you do?
My name is Aly Moore, and I eat bugs.
Since 2012, I’ve been working hard to get people to open their minds (and their mouths) and eat bugs. I ate my first bug in Mexico (it was a grasshopper taco) while studying abroad for my public health course at Yale University. After graduating, life took me in a different direction and I co-founded a tech startup in entertainment marketing. But I always pursued my passion project, Bugible, on the side.
Bugible is a blog that aims to help companies in the bug industry tell their stories and overcome public stigma. To reach broader audiences, I eventually launched EatBugsEvents.com to entice people from all walks of life to events like bug dinners, bug and wine pairings, bug cooking classes, and more. Slowly but surely, the company picked up traction. I started collaborating with big YouTube channels like Good Mythical Morning, appearing on TV stations like ITV, presenting at conferences and lecturing on campuses like UCLA and Yale.
Bigger publications like Forbes and Food & Wine began helping share our story. Most recently, I had the chance to appear on Netflix’s “Bill Nye Saves the World” to reach our biggest audience yet. My goal is to continue to find ways to reach broader audiences and make people comfortable with the idea of eating bugs. Currently, I’m balancing bugs with my passion to develop skills in leadership roles at tech companies. Over the last 3 years, I’ve found a rhythm that works for me where I’ll take positions that are flexible and spend every spare moment I have working on Bugible. I’ve also recently started exploring turning my education toward the venture capital space. More on that soon!
What is your secret for convincing people to try insects for the first time?
It’s a different “magic word” for everyone. Some people are interested in the nutritional (functional) benefit, others are interested in sustainability, and still, others are excited by the novelty. The most important thing is to transform any fear/anxiety into curiosity by creating a fun moment, positive peer pressure, and something delicious!
My favourite part of this journey has been “that lightbulb moment”, that first-time experience when someone eats a bug. I’ve watched guests of various ages and backgrounds bite into their first insect and light up. They overcome prejudices and realise that what they thought would be a scary experience was actually quite delicious. These moments are so pure, universal and compelling.
What’s your favourite bug recipe?
I still enjoy the very bug that I started with - chapulines (grasshoppers) seasoned up Oaxacan style. I eat those like snacks. The other bug I’m eating at every chance I get is the mealworm. They’re so versatile and yummy!
An example of a dish I’ve been loving recently is below: Roasted Grapes with Thyme, Fresh Ricotta, Black Ants & Grilled Bread
* Grapes (use seedless purple grapes) * Rustic bread, sliced into 1/2-inch thick pieces * Olive oil * Fresh ricotta cheese * Fresh thyme * Lemon zest * Black ants Directions
Preheat the oven to 450ºF
Spread grapes onto a sheet pan
Drizzle the grapes with olive oil and season with salt
Season with thyme leaves
Place pan in the oven for 7-9 minutes or until grapes begin to burst
Meanwhile, heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high
Brush bread with olive oil
Grill until nice and toasty
Spread fresh ricotta over bread
Top with roasted grapes
Discard thyme sprigs (while the thyme sprigs look pretty, it’s a little impractical to serve the sandwiches with the sprigs…they don’t taste so yummy)
Top with black ants
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You carry out wine and bug pairing events, in your opinion which wine goes best with mealworms?
Nutty crunchy critters need the right combination of fruit and richness. I match their nutty taste and light, crunchy texture with a crisp, fruity wine.
And how would you best describe the taste of a mealworm?
Much like crickets and many other whole roasted, dried insects, mealworms are sometimes considered flavour vehicles. Mealworms have one of my favourite plain flavours, with a nutty taste and a light, crunchy texture (like roasted nuts). Their aroma is musty or earthy, reminiscent of the smell of parsnips pulled fresh from the ground. As such, one could say their flavour is close to lightly salted parsnip crisps.
Can vegetarians eat insects?
It totally depends! I’m working on an updated full response to my original blog post here (as the explanation is long.) In short: it depends on why someone chooses to be vegetarian or vegan. If the reasons are spiritual, maybe not. But if the reasons are environmental or nutritional, most likely… HECK YES!
We explore this question in more detail in our blog - check it out!
Thank you Aly!
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