Crickets in energy bar: A Salt Lake City company is grinding crickets into flour used in energy bars. The owner has said insects are a prime source of protein.
The owner of a Utah-based company that sells energy bars with odd ingredients, including insects, elaborated on his line of products.
The Salt Lake City company, Chapul, said that its Thai Bar contains coconut, lime, ginger, and crickets. The reasoning for adding crickets is because they have less fat than cows, while having essentially the same percentage of protein content.
“It basically means that insects have similar protein contents [to] livestock, but are healthier because they have less fat,” Chapul founder Pat Crowley told ABC News in a report Thursday. “We thought the people who would be most receptive are environmentally conscious and food conscious people who already eat healthy products and energy bars.”
Cows and crickets have 57 percent protein, but cows have 43 percent fat and crickets only have 22 percent fat, the report said. Insects are eaten around the world in many countries, but the United States and Europe avoid them entirely.
The company’s website says crickets are “one of the planet’s most amazing, energy-efficient creatures.” Its bars are made from flour that is partially comprised of crickets and are “inspired by native techniques used for centuries in the American Southwest and Mexico,” it continues.
Crowley noted that the vast majority of Americans have a mental block that prevents them from eating insects because they are not part of the cultural norm. One of his first missions, he said, is to make eating them an acceptable thing for Americans.
“Our main mission is to make it culturally acceptable” to eat the insects, Crowley told the Salt Lake Tribune. “We thought the cricket was a fairly easy transition, as opposed to a worm or a beetle.”
California-based entomologist Steven R. Kutcher said insects are already in nearly everything a person eats, even in the U.S.
“When you eat rice, flour, beans or anything, there are going to be insects in them, but people don’t see them. So that’s always been part of the human diet, especially before there was processed food,” he told ABC.
Kutcher noted, however, that there is a downside.
“They have spines, they have claws, they have exoskeletons made from chitin and it’s not digestible, so it goes right through you,” he said.
Another entomologist, Florence Vaccarello Dunkel of Montana State University, said the idea to use insects as a food source is a good one. “It’s about time,” she told the Tribune.
“It’s very odd that we feed our turtles and lizards and other reptiles this high-quality protein and we eat things like chicken, beef and pork,” she said, describing insects as “land shrimp,” as they are genetically similar to the shrimp found in the ocean.
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