Last year the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization released a report urging citizens of the world to eat more bugs. Yes, you read that correctly: BUGS. According to researchers, certain types of insects are perfectly edible and healthy, too. Crickets, for example, are highly nutritious. One serving of the chirpers has twice as much protein as beef, 15% more iron than spinach, and as much vitamin B12 as salmon. Crickets are also environmentally efficient to produce, and eating more of them could help solve the world’s hunger problems.
While insects are commonly eaten in many exotic regions around the globe, filling up on a bowl of crickets for breakfast doesn’t exactly sound appetizing to Western eaters. Lucky for those creepy crawlies, there’s a guy willing to take on the tough job of convincing everyday folks (like me and you!) to indulge in insects.
Pat Crowley and his company Chapul are so passionate about the environmental impact eating crickets could have on the planet that they’ve created an innovative process to turn crickets into flour—the flour is then used to make seemingly ordinary snack bars. Consuming crickets is a huge relief on the ecosystem, says Crowley. “Each pound of cricket protein requires roughly one eighth of the amount of feed needed to produce the same quantity of beef protein, so it represents huge resource savings throughout the agricultural value chain,” he says.
Intellectually that bowl of crickets is sounding better, but many would still find the bugs hard to swallow. Crowley believes grinding the critters into powder and mixing in other tasty ingredients will help eaters get over that hump. “Our flour addresses the psychological aspects—people don’t have to actually see the insect when they bite into a bar,” says Crowley.
Chapul bars come in three flavors, Aztec (dark chocolate, coffee, and cayenne), Chaco (peanut butter and chocolate), and Thai (coconut, ginger, and lime). They can be purchased online and in select specialty markets.
There are lots of ugly-but-tasty foods out there (lobster comes to mind), but are crickets going too far? Would you eat one?