A burger made with insects
Not too long ago, the food you'd get at a festival was most likely as greasy as it was unhealthy. In the last couple of years that image changed a lot, as high-quality and diverse food options became as ubiquitous at festivals as good music and un-showered people are.
Take Welcome to The Village itself, every year they create a new, sustainable and exciting food program for the public. Now it’s time for a new revolution regarding festival bites, the change to sustainable food sources. As people are getting more conscious about the resources behind a regular meal, the use of some traditional ingredients is getting some flack. Especially cooking with pork and beef in meals is criticized by eco-minded people because of the high amounts of water and food needed to feed the animals.
When thinking outside the food box, other sustainable food sources can be found to replace the resource intensive meat options. Sander and George have found such a source in the little cricket. Although it may seem a bit strange at first, a processed cricket burger can be a really tasty alternative to a regular burger, being far more ecological in the process.
The two guys arrive a little later at DORP than most, since George is a sailor and simply was traveling when the other teams started their projects.A such, they've got quite some work ahead .
1. Getting permission to sell
You can have as much crickets as are needed to feed the entire world, to serve it out, you gonna need a permit. And they don't have it yet.
2. Creating a point of sale
And even if you've got that permit, you need a place to sell your product. For this, BURGS Food brought an old caravan, which has to be transformed into a make-shift food truck. Yes, all in four days time
3. Have the product
And when these first two obstacles are overcome, there's another issue. If you want to sell something from your permitted food truck, you better have the food. When the guys arrive at DORP, they've got exactly zero burgers.
Let's get to work!
Although the construction work on the caravan will take a lot of work, they do not seem to think of that as the biggest challenge they will face at DORP. Making enough cricket burgers and getting the festivalgoers to actually eat and buy the food will be. An interesting aspect to this question is if vegetarians will consider eating this kind of animal protein, if the environmental impact of the resource is as small as crickets are. They're also interested in finding out if they can get a lot of people over their initial presumptions on bugs and insects as a food, letting them see and taste that it can be a good staple of any (festival)diet.
Already one day into DORP, priorities are reset. The caravan they brought, is mainly going to a storage area and isn't getting a complete make-over to food truck. Instead of the building a place to sell, they’re now focussing on producing as many cricket burgers as possible. Sander has driven for hours to get all the ingredients in time and George is at DORP backing the insects into a delicious patty. The other DORPelingen serve as guinea-pigs for the first big taste test and overall they give pretty positive feedback. Most people think the taste compares to a good meat replacement or a chickpea based dish. Even the vegetarians are happy!
Time is ticking
Even after a couple of days feverishly making burgers, a lot of cooking still has to be done, with the festival now just one day away. George estimates to sell about two hundred burgers a day, which is a whole lot in their improvised kitchen. This last day is looking to be a long one, but they are certain that they will be ready to open their stand on Friday and to let the people get to know the taste of cricket.
Theboys from Burgs were able to sell their food at the festival under the condition that they would be treated the same as other vendors, to ensure there would be no unfair competition. So after they established their spot, made it as appealing as possible and precooked a lot of burgers, they were looking forward to an exciting festival weekend.
The burgers, each petty having about four whole crickets in them, would be sold for two festival coins a piece. For George and Sander it would be to first real test for their idea: will the festivalgoers spend money on food made with crickets?
Although they were ready to sell loads of burgers from the start of the festival, the first day turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. The festival started slowly and it seemed the crowd didn't find their way to the stand of George and Sander. However, the duo remained tenacious and were happy to see the interest and support of local press, organizations affiliated with innovation and sustainability at festivals and of the villagers of DORP themselves.
The next two days that interest got translated into sales, actually leading to selling everything they got on Sunday night. Mouth-to-mouth advertising had a big part in the improving sales. A lot of people really liked the taste of the burger and encouraged others to get one as well.
The burgers were not only eaten by meat-eaters, a lot of vegetarians were curious enough to try food made out of insects as well, validating the assumption that 'meat' from crickets is viewed as being on another level than traditional meat is. All in all, the short week at DORP and Welcome to the Village was a success for the guys of Burgs Food.
It was meant as the first testing ground for their product and resulted in a good perspective for the future. Sander and George seemed to find even more motivation to expand their idea, so you shouldn’t be surprised to see cricked filled burgers at your local festival in the near future as well.
Story by Bram Hensen