When it comes to getting enough protein, there are plenty of bars from which to pick. Now, a newer category boasts bugs.
About 80 percent of the world regularly eats insects. It’s a $1.5 billion industry, and the basic benefit is protein.
“They’re great for you, great for the planet and they can be delicious,” said Gabi Lewis, founder of Exo, a protein bar company that uses cricket powder in the ingredients list.
Lewis and two college buddies from Brown University birthed the idea of their company in a dorm room in 2013. After raising millions of dollars in venture capital and teaming with a 3-Michelin Star chef who developed the bars’ recipes, their product is sold around the world -- including at all major U.S. airports.
“When we turn [the crickets] into a protein powder, it’s slightly nutty tasting,” said Lewis via Skype from New York. “Almost similar to buckwheat or something like that.”
Apparently, crickets are 65 percent protein, full of zinc, iron and calcium.
“Crickets have about double the protein of beef, they have more iron than beef gram-for-gram, more calcium than milk gram-for-gram,” said Lewis.
Plus, it’s good for the earth! Crickets produce 100 times less greenhouse gases than cattle.
“It’s just kind of hard to wrap your mind around eating,” said Caroline Susie, a registered and licensed dietitian and employee wellness manager for Methodist Dallas Medical Center.
Susie took her first-ever bite of cricket, then shared her take on the creature as a food source.
“It’s a wonderful source of protein,” said Susie. “I think that cricket flour is going to be the first product that will take off in the market because it’s going to be most palatable.”
Maybe insects do deserve a place at the table -- a side to your traditional proteins.
There are 40 crickets in each Exo bar and five crickets per bite. Crickets are not recommended for people with shellfish allergies.