“People are ready to hear about how they can eat insects”

Adan Salazar
August 21, 2013

A crack team of food researchers have devised a clever way to get Americans acclimated to the idea of eating bugs.

Photo by by Fir0002 / via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by Fir0002 / via Wikimedia Commons
Riffing off Americans’ evident protein bar craze, researchers at a new start-up company called Exo say they’re creating protein bars composed of ground-up crickets, and that through this medium they can successfully introduce edible insects to American consumers.

“I thought a protein bar could be a vehicle to introducing a new sustainable food source to the West but also a better protein,” Exo co-founder Gabi Lewis told food and nutrition site FoodNavigator.com.

Lewis says that cricket protein is better for you than the proteins found in many of the bars available on today’s market, such as soy which he says is “highly processed using chemicals,” ultimately leading to an unhealthy snack.

Lewis and his partner Greg Sewitz believe they’re on track to making cricket consumption a normal thing in North America. “My entire goal,” says Lewis, “is to normalize the consumption of insects… It’s a little unorthodox but ultimately it makes sense.”

“People are ready to hear about how they can eat insects,” according to Lewis.

Food Navigator explains the process of insect food bar production:

Exo roasts whole crickets sourced from US farms and then mills them into a fine flour. The cricket flour is used in a formulation of almond butter, dates, coconut flour and shredded coconut, raw caco in powder form and nibs for texture, raw honey and sea salt. In total, each bar contains around 25 crickets.

The duo say they want Americans to get used to eating bugs, but the bars “have been designed to ‘hide’ any hint of the insects form and taste.”

Lewis explains this is because he wants people to gradually become used to eating the insects. “Even if it’s the novelty that prompts people to taste it first, we’re hoping that it will move away from that. Novelty aside, it’s a delicious protein bar and a healthy one, which are both very rare.”

“Priced at around $2.80, the bars will sit at the upper end of the market once in stores,” reports Food Navigator.

For many, the concept of consuming crickets brings to mind a recent United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization report titled, “Edible Insects: Future prospects for food and feed security,” which advocated eating insects (“People throughout the world have been eating insects as a regular part of their diets for millennia…”) as a sustainable food source and a hedge against hunger and worldwide food shortages.

Upon receiving his marching orders from the U.N., Infowars producer Rob Dew immediately jumped at the opportunity to consume such an esteemed source of protein.

The EXO team says they’ll use the $50,000 they’ve generated using the crowd-funding site Kickstarter to find “co-manufacturers” that will handle production of the bars, and that their main focus will be the U.S. market followed, if successful, by the European market, but that they don’t plan to pursue the Asian market as “it wouldn’t be necessary in Asia where they are used to eating insects.”

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