Are Crickets The Next Big Thing?

Cricket isolatedHave you ever eaten a cricket?

I just did last week. Well, sort of. Let me explain…

As our world continues to grow and several billions of people inhabit the space probably best suited for a couple billion, one of the biggest questions that many people ask is “How are we going to feed everyone?”

Although this question is very important and complex that deserves plenty of discussion (which I may delve into sometime), one of the areas that many people think we can explore more is the massive world insects. Eaten for most of human history and still consumed throughout the world, all sorts of little creatures have been a source of nourishment over our history but are basically neglected in many of the larger, richer and more “sophisticated” countries. Why? Over time other things have pushed them out of our diets for a variety of reasons and we haven’t really had a need to bring them back so they became and have remained a more third world, exotic, novelty or Fear Factor type of food. To most Americans, the thought of eating any kind of insect is down right revolting and would take a major Life of Pi situation to even consider the idea of eating some kind of insect.

That brings us back to me sort of eating a cricket…

Exo Bars

A couple years ago I heard of a company that was going to make a bar made with crickets. I knew that the concept of working insects into the diet was one gaining some momentum for both nutritional and food sustainability reasons but honestly, although superficially intrigued, I never really gave it much thought after hearing about it. From time to time the last year or so I would hear someone on a podcast talk about these Exo Bars that used cricket flour but once again I thought “interesting…” but I never pursued it. Then couple months ago the topic of insects as food came up (pretty randomly) and I mentioned that I had heard there was a company that made a protein bar with cricket flour to which I got mixed responses of disgust, confusion and intrigue. Then literally two weeks ago I was reading the book Life of Pi and, as he was floating along starving in the pacific ocean eating anything he could get his hands own, my mind returned to the cricket bars. I made a mental note that it was time to track them down.

As fate would have it (I kid you not here) someone from Exo company sent me an email a couple days later telling me about their bars and asking if I would like to sample and review them. Since the universe seemed be bringing us together I was happy to try them out and a few days later they arrived on my doorstep…

Apple Cinnamon, Blueberry Vanilla, Peanut Butter and Jelly, Cocoa Nut

Sounded pretty good so I checked what they were made of…

Pretty impressive. Like Larabars (one of my favorites) they are mostly nuts, fruit and spices. The only real difference is the addition of cricket flour. From an ingredients standpoint I can definitely get on board with these simply because they a real food based bar. Next, and more important to some, is the taste. I opened up the Blueberry Vanilla to see it looked just like a Larabar.

I cut it up and my two older boys, wife* and I tried some. Not bad at all. In fact, it tastes just like many of the other fruit and nut bars. Dense, slightly sweet and nutty. A nice little snack bar. Both the boys thought it was fine as well.

*Note: don’t give your wife a bar made with cricket flour unless you tell her what’s in it first. 🙂

Reviewing The Exo Bars

Later in the week I tried the rest of the bars and really enjoyed them. Here are my thoughts:

  • The Apple Cinnamon was my clear favorite (I really like this one), with Peanut Butter and Jelly next and then Cocoa Nut & Blueberry Vanilla next. All were good and reminded me of the Larabar taste and texture.
  • There is no hint of cricket taste or texture and if I was doing a blind taste test I would have never known I was eating crickets or cricket flour. All I tasted was the flavor of the bars (i.e. nuts, fruit and spices).
  • I actually like the fact that I’m eating crickets because I think it’s an intriguing way to experiment with different nutritional paradigms but in a very user friendly way. It’s the best way I can currently imagine including insects into my diet. I love the concept Paleo lifestyle and how can you get more Paleo than insects?
  • The bars were dense and served as a great snack or addition to a meal.
  • They have 10 grams of protein, which is more than most fruit and nut bars.
  • The ingredient list on all of them was simple and good.

I headed over to the Exo website to check out these Protein Bars in a little more detail and liked their message and approach. They feel that crickets are a great alternative source of protein that is also highly nutritious and sustainable. I agree and look forward to seeing what happens from here, both in the Exo bars and the concept in general. Check out their site and let me know what you thinking you’re interested in trying some, use the coupon code “Bare5” for 10% off.

The Bottom Line on Exo Bars: I liked them and will order some more. Although to many it may not sound appealing to eat a bar with cricket flour I encourage you to open yourself to trying something different because these Exo bars are tasty and a nice source of nutrition that just might be a glimpse at some of the future of food for our growing world.

Thanks for reading, have a great day!

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