Eco-friendly and protein-rich: Why crickets are the next food craze

Everyone knows the distinctive sound of crickets, and they've probably caused you many a sleepless summer night.

But a growing number of us see crickets as less of a nuisance, and more nutrients as they're packed with protein.

Plus, we're saving the planet in the process - farming crickets produces a fraction of the greenhouse gases from red meat, as it can be done inside without taking up precious resources with a low impact on the environment. 

But are Kiwis prepared to ditch the steaks and the lamb roasts and hop on a new food craze?

Wairarapa farmer John Hart is spreading the good word about the insects he farms, even claiming the noise they make isn't that annoying. 

"It's actually really pleasant, all of them chirp at once," he told The Project. 

To help Kiwis stomach the idea of eating crickets, he grinds them down into flour to be used in stuff like pasta, bread, pitas - far more appetising than the raw materials.

His farm began with a box of live crickets delivered in the mail and has grown exponentially from there.

"We bred them up, let nature do its thing and now we've got lots and lots of them."

Despite his fondness for the bugs, Hart tries to maintain a professional distance from the crickets which are killed humanely with gas. 

It takes about 6000 crickets to make a kilo of flour over six to seven weeks. 

Hart says the flour is more of a supplement than a substitution, and recommends putting some into a wrap, baking or smoothies to push up the protein levels.