A common household pest … or the latest high-protein health-food craze?
Most Americans think of crickets as a suburban scourge, loudly making themselves known in basements and crawl spaces. But they're also packed with protein and iron and, some might say, quite tasty.
As protein-rich diets such as Atkins and Paleo lead more people to shun carbohydrates to lose weight, adventurous eaters are seeking out new protein sources that are more sustainable and more affordable than meat and fish.
Dozens of startups are now using insect sources of protein—and particularly crickets—to capitalize on a growing craze. Cricket flour is showing up in products including protein bars, shakes, cookies and crackers, the Washington Post reported. And for people worried about the environmental impact of their food choices, crickets require significantly less water and feed than livestock.
New York-based Exo markets cricket flour bars in flavors including Banana Bread, PB&J and Mango Curry. It sells a box of 12 for $36. Chirps, which makes cricket-based chips, mixes its cricket flour with corn, beans and chia seeds. Three five-ounce bags sell for $15.99.
Whether or not squeamish Americans are ready to start munching on bugs, insects are already a common food source elsewhere, including Thailand, Mexico and Ghana.
Just something to consider before dialing that exterminator.