We took one for the team and taste-tested cricket treats, which turned out downright yummy—and ridiculously good for sustainability and health.
Before you go eww, consider this: It takes ten pounds of feed to raise just one pound of beef; the same amount of feed can produce eight pounds of crickets. Bugs are full of protein and nutrients including iron, calcium and vitamin B12. Humans have a long evolutionary history of eating bugs, so enzymes in our digestive tract are particularly good at aiding the absorption of insect protein.
In 2012, hydrologist and whitewater rafting guide Pat Crowley founded Utah-based Chapul, and was first-to-market with cricket food. Chapul’s raw-diet friendly protein bars are dense, moist and nutty. Choose from three versions: dark chocolate, coffee and cayenne; peanut butter and chocolate; or coconut, ginger and lime. They’re releasing a matcha tea bar this spring and are considering selling their FDA-approved cricket flour to competitors.
Chapul is available online and in 200 stores internationally. Last week, Crowley won a $50,000 investment from entrepreneur Mark Cuban with his national television debut on ABC’s Shark Tank, so don’t be surprised if you find Chapul backordered.
What’s next? Crowley is experimenting with other insects. More than 2,000 species are eaten around the world, he says, so that’s like saying, “What plants are we going to eat next?”
Other cricket-based grub options: San Francisco-based Bitty Foods offers chocolate chip cookies and packages of the cricket flour itself. NYC-based EXO was founded by two Brown University grads who worked with a Michelin-starred chef to perfect their protein bars.