People in other parts of the world eat insects. Would you?
Insects are a cheap source of protein, one reason why food manufacturers are jumping on the sustainable bug grub bandwagon. The latest is Chapul, a brand of energy bar made with cricket powder. Chapul bars hit the shelves of all Publix Grocery Stores in Georgia last week.
Chapul offers four varieties of bars: Chaco, which holds peanut butter and chocolate; Thai, offering the flavors of coconut, ginger and lime; Matcha, with matcha tea, goji berries and dried nori; and the Aztec that features dark chocolate, coffee and cayenne pepper. The energy bars come in 1.9-ounce single-serving packages with a suggested retail price of $3.49.
According to packaging on a Chapul bar: “Crickets need only 17 percent of the food, and less than 1 percent of the water and land resources than livestock for the same amount of protein. They also require fewer natural resources than meat substitutes like soy, corn and rice.”
Besides being high in protein (packing between 6 and 11 grams per 1.9-ounce bar) the cricket powder makes this snack rich in Omega 3s, iron and vitamin B12. The bars are also dairy-free and gluten-free.
But how do cricket bars taste? We offered the high-energy snack to reporters and editors at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Here’s what a few folks in the newsroom had to say about this cricket-laden snack:
“It’s grainy, a little powdery, but it tastes like a protein bar,” commented Rudy Isaza of the Thai bar.
“It tastes like a chocolate treat,” said Bob Howard about the Chaco Bar. Laura Weaver disagreed. “It tastes like funky bug,” she said.
Erica Hernandez was not a fan of Matcha. “It’s weird. It tastes fruity. I don’t like it,” she said.
“What I want to know is, if we’re eating crickets, have we run out of food around here?” summed Sandra Brown.
Personally, I found all four products to be unappealing. The flavors were off-putting but worse was the gummy texture. The bars are akin to Lara Bars, which I don’t consume either. That Chapul bars contain cricket powder doesn’t bother me in the least. And they do taste far better than the gimmicky grasshopper taco I tasted a few years ago at a Tex-Mex restaurant in the Midwest. At least with Chupul bars I don’t have to pick cricket legs out of my teeth or stare at a bunch of undercrisped thoraxes nestled in a tortilla.
Chapul is also launching a high-protein cricket baking flour. Are you down with that, home bakers?
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