Believe me, you are not alone if you did a double take when reading the title of this article. Did it really say cricket flour? Yep, I am 100% dead serious. A startup from Brooklyn is turning the protein packed flour into meal replacement energy bars. Exo was founded by Gabi Lewis and Greg Sewitz while they were attending Brown University. Their initial goal was pretty simple. They wanted to make food product using insects that actually tasted good. Lewis had already created a protein bar recipe so they figured why not start there.
Before we learn more about their bars, let’s get back to this cricket flour. Prior to reading about Exo, I had never even heard of cricket flour or using it as a source of protein. As it turns out, there is actually a growing market for protein rich flour. You can even have it delivered to your door with a few clicks on Amazon. According to Exo, the reason they use cricket flour is that crickets have a higher percentage of protein per mass when compared to beef, poultry, or fish. They’re also a complete protein source that contains all the essential amino acids and over two times as much iron as spinach. Crickets also produce 100x less green gases than cows and cricket farms take up a lot less space!
Now that we know why these use crickets, here’s a short synopsis of how the process works. Exo buys their crickets from domestic cricket farmers that raise crickets for human consumption. The crickets are fed an Organic-Certified based diet of grain and filtered water. After the crickets are cleaned, they remove the moisture by using a drying process. After they’re dry, they’re milled into the cricket flour that goes into their protein bars.
Exo protein bars currently come in four unique flavors: Cocoa Nut, Peanut Butter and Jelly, Apple Cinnamon, and Blueberry Vanilla. All of the bars were designed by a three-Michelin-starred chef using ultra premium ingredients. They’re also gluten, grain, soy, dairy, and refined sugar free. According to Exo, 40 crickets worth of powder go into making each bar. For those keeping score at home, that is about 5 crickets per bite. A quick glance of the nutritional label reveals they’re roughly 260-300 calories a piece with 10 grams of protein. Sugars average out to about 15 grams per bar while total carbs around 15 grams. I can’t tell you how they taste just yet as I just ordered some online. However, according to NPR’s Alexander McCall, they’re quite enjoyable. I’ll be sure to share my thoughts on the Exo bars in the weeks ahead.
In the meantime, if you are looking to branch out from the norm and try something different when it comes to energy bars, give the Exo bars a shot and let us know what you think. Exo bars run about $2 each when you buy them in a box of 12. You can also order a 4 bar sampler pack (which is what I did) to try out the different flavors. If you fall in love with them, you can join the Exo Elite – a subscription based service that will have bars automatically delivered every 30, 45, 60, or 90 days right to your doorstep. For more information on these cricket powered protein bars, visit their website.