Locusts, are they the new potato chip?

A pile of fried locusts lie on a plate, their legs curled up as if in their final death throes.

They come from locust breeder Malcolm Diack, the owner of Otago Locusts. He's made an award winning career out of the bugs, recently taking out the FoodBowl Novel Food or Beverage Award at this year's Massey NZ Food Awards, and came to the AM Show on Wednesday to share his gift.

"Many years ago I had them as food for frogs," Mr Diack says.

"And then I ate some. I sort of tried it, because I saw people around the world were eating them. Found they were delicious and cooked them up and they were really good."

But the locusts quickly made their way out of the TV studio and into the Newshub newsroom, where Newshub reporter Simon Shepherd was volunteered to go on camera and try one.

The locusts were cooked in canola oil for 20 to 30 seconds, imparting them with a shiny finish and crisp texture.

"Morning snack, bite its head off first," a discomforted Shepherd said, before bravely trying one.

Shepherd crunched his way through the bug.

"Crunchy, that's about it, really. Not much else, no sorry. Nothing diabolical in that, there's just a crunchy insect," Shepherd said, attempting to dislodge a wing from his mouth.

So, is there any chance they could overtake our favourite crackly snack, the humble potato chip?

"Not potato crisps at all, no. Not Grain Waves, not Cheezels, Rashuns, nothing like that, just flaky," he said.

"It's not a particular taste - it's slightly oily, crunchy, and gets stuck up my back molars."

Mr Diack says his locusts don't just taste good, they're good for you.

"They're high in protein, high in omega three fatty acids, vitamin B12, zinc, iron, calcium - really really good for you, really superfood," he says.

Fortunately, there's no risk to New Zealand of the locusts escaping, with biblical consequences.

"New Zealand's too cold to have a plague - at the moment - but we have them in containers in a shed," Mr Diack says.


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