Breakthroughs In Nutrition Via Entrepreneurial Conservation

Exo's peanut butter-and-jelly bar contains about 40 ground-up crickets and has a familiar nutty, sweet flavor. Meredith Rizzo/NPR

Exo’s peanut butter-and-jelly bar contains about 40 ground-up crickets and has a familiar nutty, sweet flavor. Meredith Rizzo/NPR

Thanks to National Public Radio (USA)’s food-focused program, The Salt, for another story on unexpected breakthroughs in nutrition:

…”Insects are probably the most sustainable form of protein we have on Earth,” Bitty Foods founder Megan Miller, who spoke passionately about eating bugs at a TEDx Manhattan event earlier this year, tells The Salt. “The only real barrier to Americans eating insects is a cultural taboo.”For $20, Bitty is peddling a blend of powdered crickets and gluten-free starches for baking, as well as cookies made with the flour. It joins Exo, a company with a line of cacao and peanut butter-and-jelly flavored protein bars made with cricket powder, and Six Foods, which has baked chips made with cricket flour in the works, in the new marketplace of insect-fortified food products.

Lots of people are excited about the potential of edible insects. A 2013 report from the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization noted that insects like crickets, mealworms and grasshoppers are nutritional powerhouses, high in protein, fat and the essential amino acids lysine and tryptophan, which are scarce in cereal proteins like soy. Insects also can be farmed on far less land and emit fewer greenhouse gases than traditional livestock.

At 12.9 grams of protein per 100 grams, crickets have about half the protein of chicken and beef, which each contain about 25 grams of protein per 100 grams of meat, according to data from Iowa State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (The edible cricket companies like to emphasize that if you’re talking about the percentage of protein in dried beef versus dried cricket, crickets win by 22 percent.)

Exo Co-CEOs Gabi Lewis and Greg Sewitz hopped into the edible insect market as Lewis was pondering turning his homemade protein bars into a business. Unsure how to compete with other bars, the two decided to try adding crickets, which Sewitz says he had recently discovered after attending a conference on climate change.

Sewitz and Lewis, now based in Brooklyn, ordered several thousand live crickets off the Internet to be delivered to their house at Brown University. They roasted the crickets in the oven, “like nuts or any sort of meat,” Sewitz says, and threw them into the food processor…

Read the whole story here.

2 thoughts on “Breakthroughs In Nutrition Via Entrepreneurial Conservation

  1. Pingback: Not In Our Kitchens, But Maybe In Yours? | Raxa Collective

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