Rayner advocates insects for butchers

Butchers may have to consider alternative options such as insect protein to weather the oncoming challenges that will face the sector in the next few years, a leading food critic has said.

Jay Rayner told guests at the Q Guild’s Smithfield Awards this week that the meat sector was facing increasing challenges, with surging demand and increased pressure from the need to meet that demand sustainably.

However, while the future is certainly looking challenging, he told butchers not to panic as there remained many options to continue to meet the public’s need for meat.

He highlighted insects as an opportunity: “I’m hearing a lot of stuff about insect protein – there are grants for universities to look at ways of extracting protein from insects, and it’s not a bad idea.”

He said the creatures were highly sustainable, needing little in the way of feed or other inputs, and may well soon be turning up in “cheaper burgers and sausages”.

The options for butchers were bright, he added: “I would ask butchers to embrace the changes. Meat is going to become a much more precious commodity and, when that happens, it’s precisely the butchers of the Q Guild that will become much more important – people will need your advice and expertise to ensure we’re getting the right stuff.”

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