Culture

These Grasshopper Churritos Are Bringing Mexican Food To The Rest Of The World One Bag At A Time

If you’re looking for a new high-fiber and protein snack then maybe grasshopper churritos might be for you. Say hello to Wichos, lime and chili-flavored churritos made out of seasoned ground grasshoppers. The product is the work of Erika Gil Gutiérrez and Magali Díaz García, two Mexican entrepreneurs that have been making the treats for the last year out of Mexico City.

The snacks are made out of flour from the grasshopper, amaranth, sesame, and flaxseed, with lemon and chipotle flavor.

CREDIT: Winko

The company, Winko, was founded in 2017 and aims to end malnutrition in a sustainable way. Gutiérrez and Garcia want to accomplish this by producing foods and products rich in proteins that are made from grasshoppers and grasshopper dust.

According to The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the human population by 2030 will be 9,000 million people. They suggest looking for new alternatives that ensure enough food for the population.

One option recommended is edible insects that contain high proteins, vitamins, and amino acids. In countries like Asia, Africa, and Latin America, the consumption of insects is very common and it’s a path that Gutiérrez and Garcia have shaped their business model after.

They decided to go with grasshoppers because of the high protein levels and their history in Mexico during pre-Hispanic times.

CREDIT: Winko

Winko originally got its grasshoppers solely from Oaxaca. Now they use insects from Puebla, Tlaxcala and the state of México. The duo realized the insect lives and breeds in Central Mexico so they decided to expand their reach and use some from those regions as well.

“Mexico has a great diversity of edible insects, as well as being part of our culture. We thought it was a good idea to experiment with them to see how we could offer a product that was healthy, of good quality and good flavor that would nourish and feed people and not just satisfy the craving with a snack that does not nourish.” Gutiérrez said in an interview with Tec Review.

In addition to high protein and fiber levels, Wichos have iron, magnesium, and vitamins A, B, and C. Of the more than 1,900 species of edible insects that are consumed globally, beyond being filled with proteins they are also good to the environment.

“The grasshopper is very efficient at producing its protein, so it needs fewer resources than other animals to offer a complete protein,” Gutiérrez said. “If we compare it against beef or pork, these animals need a lot of land, water, and food in order to produce a kilo of protein, as well as emitting a lot of greenhouse gases.”

Earlier this year, the entrepreneurs placed third in a food competition for their unique snack

CREDIT: Winko

Back in March, Winko competed in the International Pitch Competition, during the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas. By winning, the duo gets one year of access to an acceleration program, international links, and accompaniment, $50,000 in investment and support for the collection of up to $ 500,000 in funds.

It’s safe to say Gutiérrez and Garcia have tapped into a unique food market that is just beginning to grow. With future plans to expand, don’t be surprised if you see a bag of Wichos at a market near you.

“Our plan for the future is to reach more people,” Garcia told Entrepreneur. “Our mission is to be able to nurture more people and offer this option so that people can enjoy themselves without sacrificing their pockets.”

READ: A List Of Latin American Cuisine That Isn’t For The Weak Stomach

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Mexico City Could Soon Change Its Name To Better Embrace Its Indigenous Identity

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Mexico City Could Soon Change Its Name To Better Embrace Its Indigenous Identity

Mexico City is the oldest surviving capital city in all of the Americas. It also is one of only two that actually served as capitals of their Indigenous communities – the other being Quito, Ecuador. But much of that incredible history is washed over in history books, tourism advertisements, and the everyday hustle and bustle of a city of 21 million people.

Recently, city residents voted on a non-binding resolution that could see the city’s name changed back to it’s pre-Hispanic origin to help shine a light on its rich Indigenous history.

Mexico City could soon be renamed in honor of its pre-Hispanic identity.

A recent poll shows that 54% of chilangos (as residents of Mexico City are called) are in favor of changing the city’s official name from Ciudad de México to México-Tenochtitlán. In contrast, 42% of respondents said they didn’t support a name change while 4% said they they didn’t know.

Conducted earlier this month as Mexico City gears up to mark the 500th anniversary of the fall of the Aztec empire capital with a series of cultural events, the poll also asked respondents if they identified more as Mexicas, as Aztec people were also known, Spanish or mestizo (mixed indigenous and Spanish blood).

Mestizo was the most popular response, with 55% of respondents saying they identified as such while 37% saw themselves more as Mexicas. Only 4% identified as Spaniards and the same percentage said they didn’t know with whom they identified most.

The poll also touched on the city’s history.

The ancient city of Tenochtitlán.

The same poll also asked people if they thought that the 500th anniversary of the Spanish conquest of Tenochtitlán by Spanish conquistadoresshould be commemorated or forgotten, 80% chose the former option while just 16% opted for the latter.

Three-quarters of respondents said they preferred areas of the the capital where colonial-era architecture predominates, such as the historic center, while 24% said that they favored zones with modern architecture.

There are also numerous examples of pre-Hispanic architecture in Mexico City including the Templo Mayor, Tlatelolco and Cuicuilco archaeological sites.

Tenochtitlán was one of the world’s most advanced cities when the Spanish arrived.

Tenochtitlán, which means “place where prickly pears abound” in Náhuatl, was founded by the Mexica people in 1325 on an island located on Lake Texcoco. The legend goes that they decided to build a city on the island because they saw the omen they were seeking: an eagle devouring a snake while perched on a nopal.

At its peak, it was the largest city in the pre-Columbian Americas. It subsequently became a cabecera of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. Today, the ruins of Tenochtitlán are in the historic center of the Mexican capital. The World Heritage Site of Xochimilco contains what remains of the geography (water, boats, floating gardens) of the Mexica capital.

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Mexico Plunges 23 Places On The World Happiness Report As The Country Struggles To Bounce Back

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Mexico Plunges 23 Places On The World Happiness Report As The Country Struggles To Bounce Back

When it comes to international happiness rankings, Mexico has long done well in many measurements. In fact, in 2019, Mexico placed number 23 beating out every other Latin American country except for Costa Rica. But in 2020, things looks a lot different as the country slipped 23 spots on the list. What does this mean for Mexico and its residents? 

Mexico slips 23 spots on the World Happiness Report thanks to a variety of compelling factors.

Mexico plummeted 23 places to the 46th happiest nation in the world, according to the 2020 happiness rankings in the latest edition of the United Nations’ World Happiness Report. The coronavirus pandemic had a significant impact on Mexicans’ happiness in 2020, the new report indicates.

“Covid-19 has shaken, taken, and reshaped lives everywhere,” the report noted, and that is especially true in Mexico, where almost 200,000 people have lost their lives to the disease and millions lost their jobs last year as the economy recorded its worst downturn since the Great Depression.

Based on results of the Gallup World Poll as well as an analysis of data related to the happiness impacts of Covid-19, Mexico’s score on the World Happiness Report index was 5.96, an 8% slump compared to its average score between 2017 and 2019 when its average ranking was 23rd.

The only nations that dropped more than Mexico – the worst country to be in during the pandemic, according to an analysis by the Bloomberg news agency – were El Salvador, the Philippines and Benin.

Mexico has struggled especially hard against the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Since the pandemic started, Mexico has fared far worse than many other countries across Latin America. Today, there are reports that Mexico has been undercounting and underreporting both the number of confirmed cases and the number of deaths. Given this reality, the country is 2nd worst in the world when it comes to number of suspected deaths, with more than 200,000 people dead. 

Could the happiness level have an impact on this year’s elections?

Given that Mexico’s decline in the rankings appears related to the severity of the coronavirus pandemic here, one might assume that the popularity of the federal government – which has been widely condemned for its management of the crisis from both a health and economic perspective – would take a hit.

But a poll published earlier this month found that 55.9% of respondents approved of President López Obrador’s management of the pandemic and 44% indicated that they would vote for the ruling Morena party if the election for federal deputies were held the day they were polled.

Support for Morena, which apparently got a shot in the arm from the national vaccination program even as it proceeded slowly, was more than four times higher than that for the two main opposition parties, the PAN and the PRI.

Still, Mexico’s slide in the happiness rankings could give López Obrador – who has claimed that ordinary Mexicans are happier with him in office – pause for thought.

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