Anyone fancy a nice glass of cockroach milk?

Yummy, Mummy! Cockroach milk is said to taste like cow’s milk, but thousands of the…

Cockroaches aren’t generally associated with good places to dine, but that could change soon because the insects are the latest fad in the superfoods craze.

Cockroaches produce the crystals which are full of essential amino acids.Photograph: Getty Images/National Geographic Creative

So-called cockroach milk – or post-natal fluid – is secreted from the critter in the form of crystals to nourish its 50 or so hatchlings – and humans could enjoy this nourishment too, according to researchers from the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine in India, who claim that the “milk” derived from the crystals boasts many nutritional benefits.

“The crystals are like a complete food – they have proteins, fats and sugars. If you look into the protein sequences, they have all the essential amino acids,” Sanchari Banerjee, one of the main researchers, told the Times of India.

This non-dairy alternative is said to taste rather like cow’s milk, but, given that a cockroach is significantly smaller than your average cow, it would take an army of the insects to make up one glass of milk. Also, according to the science news website Inverse, the cockroaches die in the process of extracting the fluid, thus making the whole enterprise “neither feasible or efficient”.

The mass-market viability of insect products hasn’t stopped companies such as Gourmet Grubb from making imitation ice-cream with “entomilk” – a non-dairy milk made from sustainably farmed insects. The company says that entomilk is rich in protein content, as well as iron, zinc and calcium.

Alongside insect-based dairy alternatives, eating insects whole is becoming a more common sight in western diets. So, if wolfing down multiple-legged invertebrates has no effect on your gag reflex and you would like to do your bit for the environment, there are sites, such as Derby-based Crunchy Critters, where you can fill your virtual basket with packets of freeze-dried and dehydrated insects, from barbecue mealworm to salt-and-vinegar crickets and garlic chapulines.

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