How does eating crickets sound? Most Americans think they are too evolved or sophisticated to stoop to the level of eating insects, but as it turns out eating crickets could help alleviate some of the world’ problems. This is the thinking behind Chapul cricket-based energy bars.
Chapul was launched earlier this year by University of Arizona graduate and southwest river guide Patrick Crowley, and their aim is to squash the stigma attached to eating bugs. Chapul grinds crickets, cultivated to feed pets, into a flour that it uses to make protein rich energy bars. These bars each contain 7 grams of protein, but the real appeal is that raising crickets is much less water intensive and more efficient than its popular beef counterpart.
At this rate of increasing water scarcity, oil prices, feed prices, and land prices, beef may soon become an unattainable luxury for most. Smart people seem to think that it is insects that will replace popular red meat protein and this is the movement that Chapul hopes to be at the forefront of.
Chapul bars on Denali
Chapul currently makes 2 unique flavors that are derived from cultures know for eating insects, and other flavors are in development.
“The Chaco Bar, flavored with dates, peanuts, dark chocolate and agave nectar, is a reference to Chaco Canyon in northwest New Mexico and the ancestral Puebloan people who lived there, surviving in the arid canyon for 300 years through very efficient agricultural practices.” - Arizona Daily Star
“The Thai Bar, flavored with coconut, ginger and lime, is a reference to a country where deep-fried grasshoppers are commonplace and drought and pollution are serious problems.” - Arizona Daily Star
In fact, Chapul Bars will donate 10 percent of the profits from each bar to a water-rescue project in the related region.
Here are some arguments that speak to why eating bugs isn’t such a bad or disgusting prospect after all:
- We already do eat bugs – about a pound a year – we just don’t realize it. Small quantities of insect parts are allowed under food regulations.
- people have eaten insects since the beginning, and millions around the world continue to eat – and love to eat – bugs.
- Some top-tier restaurants in Europe and the U.S. have begun serving bugs, and companies that once sold insects only to pet stores are now expanding into selling bugs for use in human food.
- The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization convened a conference on insects as food in January, and the European Union has sponsored a 1 million euro research project into insects’ nutritional value.
- They’re high in calories and protein. And compared to other livestock, insects need less feed, produce less waste per pound of body weigh and, therefore, less ammonia, a greenhouse gas. Raising crickets uses far less water than livestock. Agriculture is the single biggest use of water.