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Tastes like cricket? Bug-based soy sauce heads to dinner tables

Tokyo startup sees protein-packed critters as promising alternative to beans

These crickets are fermented to make soy sauce.

TOKYO -- A Japanese startup specializing in edible insects has developed soy sauce with farmed crickets as its main ingredient, aiming to begin shipments this coming July.

Tokyo-based Join Earth is taking preorders via a crowdfunding website. A set of two 100-milliliter containers -- a dark and light soy sauce -- costs 5,000 yen ($45.70).

The new sauce is made through the fermentation of two-spotted crickets farmed by a startup affiliated with Tokushima University. The protein-rich insects are said to have a strong flavor and aroma, with the resulting product having a distinctive taste compared to conventional soy sauces.

The cricket-derived soy sauce will be brewed through June at miso production facilities in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture.

Feed given to the insects as they are raised affects the flavor of the sauce. Join Earth, established in November, hopes to popularize cricket-derived soy sauce by making improvements based on customer feedback.

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