Like something straight out of the bizarre Bushtucker Trial on ITV’s ‘I’m A Celebrity’, Northwich-based Roberts is the first major bakery brand in the UK to launch insect bread. And it tastes delicious.

And it was year 5 children at Hartford Manor Primary, on Stones Manor Lane, who were amongst the first to try the limited-edition Crunchy Cricket Loaves during a very special school visit last week.

Co-ordinated as part of an exciting two-three week PR campaign for Roberts the visit followed on from BBC TV North West Tonight coverage of the launch of the concept bread which has been picked up on numerous media channels since underpinning the notion that you cannot beat a really, really good story.

The innovative insect Bloomer has been whipped up in The Exploratory – Roberts’ concept kitchen and home of innovation – to celebrate the ITV show being back on our screens for its 19th season.

The bread is made using cricket flour, which is supplied by Eat Grub – the UK’s leading insect food brand – and sourced from the world’s only farm with Grade A BRC food safety certification. Each loaf contains around 336 crickets, which are dried, ground, mixed with wheat flour and grains and then baked to become a tremendously tasty loaf with a crunchy finish.

Roberts’ Crunchy Cricket Loaf contains more protein than standard bread and is also a much more environmentally-friendly and sustainable source of it.

Food experts claim insects can also actually blitz body fat due to being packed with good fatty acids, calcium, iron, vitamin B12 and vitamin C. In fact, a recent study shows that crickets have antioxidant power five times higher than fresh orange juice. And they’re also low in fat.

They are also said to be good for the gut, thanks to the high levels of chitinous fibre found in their exoskeleton. This helps to increase levels of a metabolic enzyme associated with gut health.

“As well as having very strong sustainability and environmental credentials, insects are also seriously tasty and shouldn’t be overlooked as a great recipe ingredient. Our Cricket Loaf provides consumers with a good source of protein and an easy way to familiarise themselves with insect-based food,” said Alison Ordonez, Head of Innovation at the bakery firm.

“As the UK’s next generation bakery we work tirelessly to stay at the forefront of food revolution.  We’re also passionate about boosting growth in the bread category with relevant, sustainable and interesting bakes. The first-in-the-UK Roberts Cricket Loaf is yet another example of this.”

Neil Whippey, Co-Founder at Eat Grub, said: “We’ve been importing and selling insects as a food source since 2013, and we’re always excited to work with likeminded manufacturers who are keen to realise their insect-innovations. It’s been great to support Roberts in what appears to a UK bakery brand first. What a great way to introduce the joys and benefits of eating insects.”

Adele Wolstenhulme, Harley Street clinical nutritionist and psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) practitioner, said: “If you look through the lens of human evolution you will find insects were a daily staple. We are simply returning to our ancestral dietary roots.

“Given climate change and sustainability issues around meat, we are becoming more aware of the need to seek out alternative protein sources and we shouldn’t dismiss the valuable sources of essential fats that these critters also offer in abundance. And, when considering the amount of pressure on land and resources, we should be fully embracing insects as superfoods.

“We needn’t feel sorry for the celebs doing the Bushtucker trials in the jungle. They are getting way more nutrition than the average person!”

Insect eating, or entomophagy, is common in much of the world. The UN estimated last year that at least 2billion people eat insects – with many having eaten them traditionally for generations – and more than 1,900 species are used for food.

For many, they’re a delicacy and insect harvest season is much anticipated. They’re also a popular choice amongst those who want to protect the environment because farming insects uses less land, water and feed than conventional livestock farming.

Souters worked closely with brand and social media agency Propaganda on an integrated campaign targeting media and other influencers, creating fun, engaging assets  – imagery, mailers, website makeover – plus social channel competitions to make the most of the opportunity.

Awareness has run nationally and resulted in a number of sales enquiries from customers looking to buy the bread as well as consumers asking where can they get it. Watch this space.