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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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July 30 2013

Why Eating Insects Makes Sense

By Guest
181 Comments

CricketI’m grateful to have our friend Gabi Lewis, founder of Exo, pen today’s guest post. Exo is running a Kickstarter campaign to bring an insect protein bar to market. Learn more and donate here. (Full disclosure: I’m exploring the possibility of becoming an investor myself.) Enter Gabi…

It’s a safe bet to assume that insects don’t feature prominently on your current menu. My aim in this post is to convince you that they absolutely should. Whether your goal is to most accurately replicate an ancestral diet, minimize the ecological impact of your food consumption, or simply optimize your own performance, eating insects just makes sense.

While it has gained renewed attention recently1, entomophagy – the consumption of insects – is nothing new. In fact, as eclectic omnivores, it’s likely that we’ve consumed insects, the most abundant terrestrial life form excluding bacteria, for an exceedingly long time. Evidence that our earliest ancestors ate insects includes analyses of fossilized feces from caves and the fact that all extant nonhuman primates are insectivorous2. Fast forward a few million years and Aristotle’s brain-food of choice was cicadas (packed with omega-3 fatty acids). Today, 80% of the world still eats over 1,600 species of insects, from Jing Leed in Thailand to Escamoles in Mexico to Casu Marzu in Italy. Deeply rooted in our history as a species, entomophagy is as primal as cave painting in a loin cloth (more so actually, since it predates tools).

There are additional convincing arguments for embracing entomophagy. Insects are exceptionally nutritious. They contain up to 91% protein by dry weight3 with amino acid compositions that are superior to most alternatives4. They are an excellent source of fat and are high in the essential fatty acids linoleic acid and linolenic acid5. Insects also tend to be high in micronutrients such as B-vitamins, beta-carotene, and vitamin E6. Crickets, for example, contain substantially more iron than beef. Considered purely from a nutritional perspective, eating insects is a no-brainer. There is even some evidence linking a departure from entomophagy in rural Mexico to the deteriorations in health of those concerned7.

Coupled with the health benefits of entomophagy are the environmental ones. The negative impact that livestock has on our planet is well documented; it accounts for 18% of all greenhouse gases, more than emissions from cars, trains, and planes combined8. As our population grows, these problems will only get worse. Insect protein, however, is uniquely sustainable for a number of reasons. First, insects are poikilothermic, meaning that they can match their internal body temperatures to the external environment and consequently exert less energy (meaning less feed) maintaining their body temperatures than their warm-blooded counterparts9. As well as requiring little feed, insects require barely any water. It takes 3,290 liters of water to produce 150g of beef, but virtually none to produce 150g of grasshopper protein10. Insects also have greater reproductive thrust than conventional livestock; a single female cricket can lay 1,500 eggs in four weeks11. For all these reasons, it’s estimated that Acheta Domestica (house cricket) is twenty times more efficient as a source of protein than cattle12.

I’ve outlined strictly rational arguments for entomophagy, but it would be naïve to ignore the cultural taboo that exists. In his 1885 manifesto, Why Not Eat Insects?, Vincent Holt worried that “it may require a strong effort of will to reason ourselves out of the stupid prejudices that have stood in our way for ages.” He found a theoretical solution in the idea that “fashion is the most powerful motive in the world,” and there are historical precedents to support this. Americans and Europeans considered sushi repulsive until an enterprising chef in LA replaced Toro with avocado and created the inside-out California Roll (disguising the raw fish inside). It spread from Hollywood to the rest of the country and on to Europe. Thirty years ago we would have viewed a plate of sashimi with revulsion; now most of us are willing to spend big bucks to get it.

We’re already starting to see fashion serve as a motive for behavioral change. Some of the world’s best restaurants regularly feature insects on their menu. Noma, located in Copenhagen and ranked the number one restaurant in the world for three years, has served a fermented cricket soy sauce, and its experimental arm, Nordic Food Lab, recently received at 3.6 million Kronor grant to explore gourmet entomophagy13. Inventions are appearing for raising your own edible insects at home14. There’s even talk of using insect protein for space travel and habitation15. My own company, Exo, launched a crowdfunding campaign yesterday. By creating protein bars made with cricket flour (slow roasted and finely ground crickets), we hope to create a vehicle to introduce entomophagy to the West – a kind of California Roll of insects.

It has been hypothesized that the West’s aversion to entomophagy comes from a subconscious desire to disassociate from our hunter-gatherer ancestors16. It is obvious, however, that to optimize human performance, we are well served by returning to practices that have, for thousands of years, influenced our genetic makeup. The Primal health community is built upon the intelligent and gradual reclamation of these practices, and entomophagy is the next step in the process. By overcoming our conditioned biases and utilizing insects as a more ecologically efficient protein source, we can shift eating patterns in a direction that is healthier for humans and better for the planet.

Exo Bar

Exo launched a Kickstarter campaign on July 29th, with a goal of raising $20,000. Exo’s first protein bar, formulated with a three Michelin Star chef, contains cricket flour, almonds, dates, coconut, raw cacao, honey and sea salt. Support Exo here.

1Should We Eat More Insects? The U.N. Thinks So.

2Ramos-Elorduy B., (2009), The importance of edible insects in the nutrition and economy of people of the rural areas of Mexico. Ecology of Food and Nutrition, 36: 347-366.

3Bukkens SGF., (2005). Insects in the human diet. Ecological Implications of Minilivestock: Potential of Insects, Rodents, Frogs and Snails, 545–77.

4DeFoliart, G.R., (2002). The human Use of Insects as a Food Resource: A Bibliographic Account in Progress.

5Yang LF, Siriamornpun S, Li D., (2006). Polyunsaturated fatty acid content of edible insects in Thailand. J. Food Lipids 13(3):277–85.

6Banjo, A.D., Lawal, O.A., Songonuga, E.A., (2006). The nutritional value of fourteen species of edible insects in southwestern Nigeria. African Journal of Biotechnology, 5:298–301.

7Ramos-Elorduy, J., (1997). Insects: A sustainable source of food? Ecology of Food and Nutrition, 36: 247-27.

8Livestock a major threat to environment

9Lindroth, R.L., (1993). Food conversion efficiencies of insect herbivores. Food Insects Newsletter, 6: 9–11.

10Walsh, Bryan, (2008). Eating Bugs. Time.

11Capinera, J. L., (2004). Encyclopedia of Entomology. Kluwer Academic Publishers.

12Nakagaki, B.J,, DeFoliart, G.R., (1991). Comparison of diets for mass-rearing Acheta domesticus (Orthoptera: Gryllidae) as a novelty food, and comparison of food conversion efficiency with values reported for livestock. Journal of Economical Entomology, 84:891–6.

13Major funding awarded for edible insect research in Denmark

14Raise Your Own Edible Bugs With This Decorative Kitchen Pod

15Katayama, N., Yamashita, M., Kishida, Y., Liu, C., Watanabe, I. Wada, H., (2008). Azolla as a component of the space diet during habitation on Mars. Acta Astronautica, 63: 1093-1099.

16Vane-Wright RI., (1991). Why not eat insects? Bulletin of. Entomological Research. 81:1–4.

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181 thoughts on “Why Eating Insects Makes Sense”

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  1. I eat shrimp, so why not crickets or locusts. If they taste good without the need to process them, and do not carry disease (I have heard that some can carry cholera iirc?) and they are not expensive, I will eat it. As long as it is not in the category of raspberry ketones and super-duper costs its weight in gold food X.

    Honestly, i would rather someone started raising & selling rabbits.

    1. Exo? Great name for the company. Must be short for Exoskeleton.

    2. my classmate’s aunt makes ($)68/hour on the laptop. She has been out of work for 9 months but last month her payment was ($)20459 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Go to this web site and read more… c­a­n9­9.?­?­M

  2. i am repulsed by the idea of eating insects, but I would probably try a protein bar. I wish someone would just hand me one though without me knowing what it was made of. This is a very interesting idea…

    1. Cook most things and not tell anyone what it is (or tell them a lie), and they would most likely enjoy it. But tell most folks that they are eating a cricket, and they get all grossed out. Just think of eggs and crack one open…we grew up with them and love them, but they are really gross if you really think about it!

      1. You could cook someone’s child and they’d enjoy it until they knew what it was! 🙂

        1. If you have to kill with your bare hands, skin it, chop the flesh and cook it before eating, a majority of the meat eaters would stop eating meat.

          As long it comes wrapped as nice cuts or cooked with garnishes on a plate, it is a different game altogether.

        2. Actually the act of slaughtering the animal or even watching the slaughter of an animal you’re about to eat is a perfectly natural healthy experience. It’s fine if you’re a vegan, do your own thing, but lets also remember that you’re still killing a living thing (possibly hundreds of crickets/locusts). Those darned things (animals and insects) just have so much delicious protein!!! :D. Speaking of Locusts aren’t they Kosher and/or Halal??

        3. @Dennis
          BT never said that he (I’ll just he/she is male) was vegan. I agree with his statement that a lot of people would not be able to eat meat when they would have to do all the steps themselves, or were immediately confronted with them. Probably not as much of the people here, though 🙂

          There is a lot of unnecessary vegan-bashing around here sometimes, and a lot of arguments used against it are completely invalid. As are a lot of typical vegan arguments, at least in the form used. I totally respect “ethical” vegans (as opposed to those who may be vegan or vegetarian for “health” reasons). In fact, I have considered veganism myself, but have decided that I rank my own physical welfare higher than the life of the animal, as part of a totally arbitrary value judgement.

          Postscript: Read BT’s second comment below, which is a more passive-aggressive attack of mammal meat consumption. “Meat is meat” is definitely one of the arguments not valid in this application.

  3. This is AWESOME. and this is so true – “fashion is the most powerful motive in the world,” — YUP. things are only gross because a certain “trend” deems them so. I’ve tried crickets, which were delicious, so bring on the rest of ’em!

    1. Fashion doesn’t eliminate the “ick” factor. I would say that hunger is the most powerful motive. If a person gets hungry enough they will eat anything. Frankly, I can’t see myself getting hungry enough to knowingly or willingly eat bugs any time soon.

      1. I hear that! I can’t even eat food that’s been colored with cochineal dye, due to the ick factor.

      2. I think the point was that “fashion” is entirely responsible for the ick factor. Just about any food can be considered icky if we think about where it comes from or how it grows. If there were some inherent ickiness in bugs, or any other food, people wouldn’t eat them in any country or culture. The only real ickiness comes from toxins or off-flavors that let us know that something is not food, or at least not good food. Repulsion to eating insects in Western culture is purely a result of ingrained social prejudices – or what the writer calls “fashion.”

        1. Aren’t we repulsed by them because once we starting storing our grain harvests, the presence of insects meant the grain was spoiled – I seem to recall that eating weevils and other grain bugs CAN make you very ill.

          Also, insects on our stored meat is seldom a good thing, flies and maggots come to mind, so I think the revulsion began around the time we farmed and started to keep larders of food, and therefore that is after the paleo era, for whatever that’s worth.

        2. Comfort with eating a piece of cow or a pig slaughtered elsewhere and discomfort with slaughtering one’s own pet dog and eating them is perhaps another ingrained social prejudice as well.

          Meat is meat, no?

      3. “Fashion doesn’t eliminate the “ick” factor.”

        Fashion CREATES the ick factor.

        Go to a Thailand market and see how many people are saying “ick” while buying dozens (hundreds) of different types of insects that they consider absolutely delicious.

      4. Fashion totally eliminates the ick factor. Fashion and conventional wisdom literally define the ick factor, and your comment in a way proves it.

        Let me start with actual “fashion”–the clothing industry. What is normal Summer attire, baggy, long shorts and oversized t-shirts would be considered only for circus clowns when I was young, and my kids can’t stop laughing at pictures of me in high school with my short shorts. Pre-teen girls wear clothes that would have identified them as street walkers 50 years ago.

        And food–farm animals are mammals, which in general are pretty high on the scale of animal intelligence. Cows and pigs have social orders, individual personalities, likes and dislikes. And these things we call “steaks” are really the end product of killing an animal that was maybe grazing on grass with its family members yesterday and dismembering it. That red liquid your steak is covered in isn’t exactly dye. If you think about it logically, all of that is pretty damn icky. But we don’t think of it that way because the social convention (fashion) is to think of a cow as just a big container that holds different types of food.

        And you can make similar arguments with other foods, of course. Lobster and crab are distant cousins of terrestrial insects, but food fashion has deemed them as non-icky. Gabi mentioned suchi, same thing.

        When I was a kid crappy Americanized Chinese food was considered pretty “out there” where I lived. Now my grandson was begging me to take him to eat sushi by about age six. All it’ll take to get insects on the menu is for a couple of A-listers to be seen chomping on crickets at Hatfield’s and some hip movie to feature the star nom nom nomming on some grashoppers, and it’ll be on. And, of course, Having a protein bar-like snack like the one Exo is proposing will speed the whole thing along even more.

        Aside from all of that, it just f-ing makes sense to eat insects. It takes years and a lot of resources to make a cow ready for slaughter, and an insect crop can be made table ready in what, weeks?

        1. Let’s not forget that the bible deems lobster and crab as icky.

          Btw, fried insects are delicous snacks.

  4. I’m aware I’m about to out myself as a massive weirdo but… I’d rather eat insects than most crustaceans!

    Good luck with Exo.

  5. another problem I see is the nutritional facts of the bar itself. While cricket flour may be high in protein and fat and low in carbs, they have made the bar relatively low protein and high carb, not something I would find ideal for a product I would use as a “protein bar”. 2 scoops of whey is going to give me at least double the protein with much less carbs. Just something for them to think about…

    1. I agree with this. Cricket flour is the 5th ingredient on the list so there can’t be that much in the bar. Given that almonds are the first ingredient and coconut is 3rd most of the 10g of protein are coming from them and not the crickets.

      1. Thanks for the feedback!

        This is just the very first bar, intended to compete with the likes of Lara/Clif and demonstrate that insect protein can be delicious as well as sustainable and nutritious.

        We have more recipes being developed including options that are lower sugar, higher protein + fat.

        Gabi

        1. oh, that’s the one I want then, for sure. Insects? Pfft! No problem. heading to your crowdsourcing link now. great idea (why didn’t I think of that!?!?!).

        2. I would love to try the Exo bar, but Yes, I’d be more interested if it had more protein, no honey, and just the minimal dates….

    2. +1 this a an almond bar like Larabar.
      Make a cricket bar, that has more protein than carbs and I would be interested. Snack bar? Maybe, but probably a dessert bar.

      1. I agree – the carbs are way too high. I would buy one for the novelty, split it with my husband, and probably not get one again unless it tasted so incredibly super-duper that I HAD HAD HAD to have it.

        And, Gabi, you didn’t ask about name ideas, but I think that calling it “Cricket Bar”, as MikeD says, is actually a pretty cool idea. Hey, I can see a whole line – Cricket Bar, Grasshopper Bar (it would have mint flavoring, no?), and Cicada Bar (maybe with berries that look like cicada eyes??). Okay, I’m out of insects that might be vaguely appetizing-sounding, but I’m sure you can come up with more. I’m going to say, though, that you can probably rule out a Cockroach Bar!

        1. I agree with the carbs being a bit high, but this sounds like an awesome start! my entomology club at University of Wyoming has been putting on an “insects as food” demo every year as a fundraiser, and it’s always been a wild success. Fashion really does dictate so much. I really hope this will have a big positive impact in the right direction. Bugs rock! It would be great if this helps make entomophagy more mainstream, and especially if there then start to be more products available for home use – like packaged cricket flour for baking.

  6. 3,290 L of water to produce 150g of beef? That’s 870 gallons to produce 1/3 pound?

    1. My main reason against recycling is the unseen energy and water footprint. Plus most recycling plants are municipal based so taxes have to be collected to operate them. True cost point is masked out. At least with beef I have the choice to select my protein source based upon agriculture practicings I think are best.

      1. I totally agree. It took me a while to realize that water is a resource, too, especially if it has to go through a processing plant. My city charges for both garbage disposal and recycling, so if has to be subsidized with tax money, it’s impossible to tell it’s true cost.

        The other thing is that economics encourages recyclers. Animal rendering, scrap metal recycling, and paper recycling were all in place before recycling became mandated.

      2. Sure, but manufacturing a new ______ probably uses at least as much water, likely more. So recycling is the lesser evil.

        Remember there’s two other R’s in there: reduce–and if you can’t reduce, reuse–and if you can’t reuse, then it’s time to recycle. I get all twitchy when people use the existence of recycling as as excuse to buy bottled water.

        As for eating cricket powder? Sure. No problemo. But whole bugs will take me a lot more time and social conditioning. The California roll effect!

        1. I do agree with the concept with reduce and reuse if it is economically viable to do so. Without a price cost difference between fabricating X with Recycled Materials and X with New Materials everything is not only speculation, but the conclusion “so recycling is the lesser evil” insults logic. Not all products are the same.

          “I do not always drink bottled water, but when I do I prefer Fiji”.

        2. +1 on Fiji! Have a bottle sitting beside me – it’s the only bottled water I will drink. It tastes like water. And hopefully it comes from where it says it comes from (nothing like a “fresh spring” out of New Jersy!)

        3. Fried, and then dusted with chili powder. Totally worth trying if you get the chance. I tried the first one tenitively, then ate the whole bag full.
          Granted, I had grashoppers when I first tried insects, but crickets should be similar. You can order them from Amazon.

      3. You’re telling me that it takes less energy and water to mine/smelt aluminum ore than to melt down a can? Or to cut down a tree and process the pulp into paper than to recycle paper? I’m highly skeptical.

        1. Sure Paleo Ron Burgundy, but I thought we were talking about water use, not cost. Cost is a whole other thing.

        2. Possibly. Maybe recycling aluminum is economically viable on a certain scale. Maybe a nice ore deposit near a smelter and rail has a high volume, lower cost per metric ton versus recycling. It is not black and white since it depends on the product being recycled, efficiencies and how it is being recycled. A municipality recycling facility uses tax payer money, versus say a scrap yard. Given the track record of municipals I’d think they have less incentive to be efficient due to the power to tax.

          Life cycle of the recycled products must be taken into account too. The item being recycled has all initial/previous production costs and materials used “built into the cake”.

          My point is the amount of water and energy required to collect the soon to be recycled goods, the processes used to separate and purify the materials into reusable materials, move those materials to where production is required, is not clear. If you can point to commodity prices of new aluminum vs recycled aluminum then the spread, if any, is the answer.

        3. A few years back I was researching a startup company specializing in bioplastics. I think they were synthesizing plastic from cellulose. Cool idea but I think they never made it past a penny stock.

        4. Of course not. But there’s a whole lot more to it than “water costs $x/gallon.” Economy of scale plays a big role, and virgin commodity production gets to dodge a lot of “true costs” in the lingo of us tree-huggers, mostly the costs associated with cleaning up the mess. And there’s those tax breaks they get. Believe you me, I’d love it if the competition between virgin and recycled commodities took place on the level field of uncorrupted economics.

      4. I temped in a plastic bottle-making plant in college. It actually took zero water to recycle old plastic bottles into new ones, and the factory purchased recycled, sorted plastics of the same type every day in order to chop it into a fine dust and melt it into bottle forms. Of course, other uses for plastic may require more water.

        I have no idea how much water it takes to create new plastic.

    2. “That’s 870 gallons to produce 1/3 pound?”

      Who really knows? I could easily see someone crunching the numbers in a way to produce that and/or picking an inefficient farm. On the other hand our household goes through like 30ish gallons of water a day and we’re reasonably efficient. And agricultural does get priority in the Western US for water. I’m confused.

      1. I am very skeptical about the water figures. Keep in mind that for grass-fed beef it isn’t just the cattle that are using the water. DUH! I am familiar with livestock ranching in California (from the environmental protection side – I have a contract with U.S. Fish & Wildlife). Cattle ranchers protect sensitive species, as do hunters, anglers, organic rice growers and the U.S. military.

    3. Yeah, I don’t really believe statistics like that. How much water does grass fed beef use? Probably less than feedlot. And cattle are only in feedlots for maybe what, three months? But I AM sure that insects are better… 🙂

    4. That was my objection also. Assuming about 1500 lbs of food from the cow, raised 3 years until slaughter, I calculate the cow is guzzling almost 3600 gallons per day of its life. If she meant 150 pounds, that would still be almost 8 gallons per day. That seems closer but still high.

    5. “3,290 L of water to produce 150g of beef? That’s 870 gallons to produce 1/3 pound?”

      But remember it doesn’t just vanish, it goes right back into the cycle at some point, even down to the water retained in the meat that you eat, then flush away after your body’s used it, so it re-enters the system.

      The water argument is flawed so long as farms are responsible non-polluters and create waste that can be handled in a way to reclaim the water, or allow it to re-enter the water-table by rearing their animals outdoors in pastures, pens, etc. – with minimal use of drugs, hormones as well, because these tend to stick around after processing the water and end up in our drinking and bathing water.

      But those caveats aside, the argument that raising animals for food uses too much water can also be used for trees, which consume gallons of the stuff over centuries, and it would be insane to say this means we need to reduce or eliminate all forests on that basis.

      I also wonder how much more water and resources get used, and animals killed in grotesquely torturous ways in medical labs, to find obesity, diabetes & disease “cures” for all the ills caused to humanity by a low-meat, low-fat, high-carb diet?

      1. We are not farmers, but we rent a farmhouse and an acre in the middle of a farm that raises beef cattle.

        We have a well. We and about a hundred head of cattle drink from that well, and we also shower, do laundry, cook, do dishes, etc.

        And we have septic on the other side of the house, which means no water we use is “wasted” since it winds up in the pasture or in the garden anyways. I have never tried to “save” water since we’ve lived here since it’s “free”.

        This house is several hundred years old and has never had water “added” to it except a few summers back when we had a bad bunch of storms and were without electric for over a week. We had to buy water for drinking and ice for refrigeration and the farmer had to haul water in for the cattle. There the problem was not being able to run the electrical pump, not a shortage of water. There is the remains of a well house and a cistern here, so apparently they’ve been using this same water forever.

        All the cattle that have been raised here for HUNDREDS of years have been raised on the rain and snow that falls on the land. Mostly cause this land doesn’t have too many people/animals for the amount of water we get, unlike other areas (I am in central PA).

        Most of the water they intake works similarly to our water use in the house, except they just spread it over the pastures and hayfields directly instead of having a septic system. Sure, some is lost through the removal of the animals themselves, and some is lost through evaporation, but not more than what falls.

        So IME, you can raise generation after generation of cattle on the same water forever. No matter how much water that is per animal or pound of beef, you can keep using it.

    6. A cow may consume that much water, but it does noes not just disappear. I have cows on my pasture & find it is much healthier when they’re there. It fertilizes & conditions the soil so that I can irrigate less (hardly at all) & never fertilize.
      As a semi-homesteader I find cows are a vital addition to the health & sustainability of my land. Most of a cows life is spent on pasture preventing wildfires & conditioning soil before they are unfortunately taken to a feedlot to eat corn & soy. Don’t begrudge the cow, begrudge the last step in their life where we “finish” them artificially on lots.

  7. This definitely sparked some interest, but how does one go about preparing insects to eat? I’m interested to hear some ideas. I’ve gulped down crickets before, but they were covered in chocolate!

      1. That sounds good as far as taste, but it’s the legs that gross me out. I would rather sautee up some grubs with garlic and palm oil, because of the leg thing. And antennae. Do you cut them all off when prepping them?

        1. +1 to the legs issue. I am reminded of the commercial. It’s not hard to find live crickets around here during fishing season. I might have to try that.

          Also +1 to trying the cricket bar — especially if it were low in carbs and high in fat.

        2. And the wings! What in the world do you do with the wings, legs, antenna, and those “hairy” things poking out the back? MAJOR ick!!

  8. I would certainly try insects, but another processed sugary glorified “healthy” candy bar will not be the way I try them. Maybe I’m weird, but I want my unusual meats to taste like unusual meats. What is the point of trying something new if you aren’t going to actually taste it?

    Also, I suspect the statistics about greenhouse emissions and water consumption refer to factory farmed feedlot meat, not grass fed, which I understand is much more sustainable.

    1. This is just supposed to be the start for insects. California rolls aren’t the best type of sushi either, but they were accessible. To get people to overcome their phobia, sweet is probably the place to start.

    2. I read somewhere that grass-fed/grazing is much better for the environment.

  9. I like the idea of adding this as an option to a primal plate of food. Meat, veggies, nuts, insects, fruit.

  10. Let’s do it! Bugs turn me off too but I’m intrigued. I’d definitely rather eat that than GMO soy, wheat and other “foods” only useful to bring about the downfall of man. Yes, the bar is not low carb enough for me which is an issue but this is only the first product. I’ll get a kick out of trying one and seeing the reactions of others. It could be one of the more interesting tiny investments you make 🙂

    1. I’m gonna take these to the gym and eat them right after a hard workout. And probably freak people out. XD Fun times!

  11. About the “negative impact that livestock has on our planet”, it sounds like “death by fart”… but that’s like blaming firefighters for the fires… The real problem in that particular point is the desertification that’s happening across the planet, which causes inability to sequester CO2. In fact, more livestock could restore the ecosystem, as described in this TED Talk by Allan Savory: http://www.ted.com/talks/allan_savory_how_to_green_the_world_s_deserts_and_reverse_climate_change.html

  12. I would eat them so long as they are ground up, no “ick” factor that way.

  13. “Some of the world’s best restaurants regularly feature insects on their menu. Noma, located in Copenhagen and ranked the number one restaurant in the world for three years, has served a fermented cricket soy sauce, and its experimental arm, Nordic Food Lab, recently received at 3.6 million Kronor grant to explore gourmet entomophagy”

    Who gets to rank restaurants? And why don’t I get to rank restaurants? *sigh* This is going to turn into a whole lobster thing where poor man’s food turns gourmet. (Lobsters are just giant bugs – they aren’t worth the effort, either, unless I was starving to death.)

    “Thirty years ago we would have viewed a plate of sashimi with revulsion; now most of us are willing to spend big bucks to get it.”

    I’d like to change the word “most” to “a significant group” in the above statement. In the circles I hang with, I can’t think of a person who has gone out of their way to get sushi. It exists but it’s not really on the radar screen for many Americans. I’ll give you the word “most” when I see a church/community fundraiser proudly feature sushi. 😉

    I’ve tried a California roll, which, let’s face it, is the basically a Lox and cream cheese bagel with a little seaweed thrown in. My experience was “meh”. There’s lots of other food that I much prefer for the cost. I feel the same about lobster, with the added issue that I tend to react to bottom/filter feeders. Shrimp is also off the list for me and I’m not entirely sorry about that either.

    “By creating protein bars made with cricket flour (slow roasted and finely ground crickets), we hope to create a vehicle to introduce entomophagy to the West – a kind of California Roll of insects.”

    I’m going to start by saying I’m *probably not* your target demographic. You’re probably better off consulting successful gourmet marketeers. My 2 cents anyway — a bar like that would have to taste pretty close to a 1/2 decent protein bar (not hard) *and* I’d want it to be cheaper. All of the environmental niceties that go with insect raising *should* translate to cheaper food, in the absence of subsidies. If I’m going to eat the food of last resort (and let’s face it, the kids were probably *not* saying “oh, boy crickets”, even in hunter/gather days), I’d like to save some coin to do so.

    However, cheaper food doesn’t make it gourmet, so you’d probably be best off creating some ridiculous margin for the bars. 🙂

    1. “This is going to turn into a whole lobster thing where poor man’s food turns gourmet.”

      The difference is that it takes 6-8 years to make a nice-sized lobster, so that many lobster habitats have been over-harvested for decades, driving up prices. It only takes a few months to make many adult bugs.

      So at least the price won’t change for those of us who don’t frequent gourmet restaurants.

  14. I know insects are in theory good for you and all and in other cultures there even a common thing to eat but I think I’ll pass haha

  15. I would try the cricket flour. I’d also try crunching down on a whole, live cicada. You could easily incorporate bugs into any food without others noticing, and it probably wouldn’t affect the taste at all. Why not do it?

  16. In China, insects have always been a part of their diet. Have to admit that I couldn’t quite bring myself to try any of it when I was there.

  17. >Coupled with the health benefits of entomophagy are the environmental ones. The negative impact that livestock has on our planet is well documented; it accounts for 18% of all greenhouse gases, more than emissions from cars, trains, and planes combined8. As our population grows, these problems will only get worse.

    Full stop, no need to read more. Envirowhiny livestock-bashing is a signal marker for intellectual incompetence. Nothing the article claims can now be taken at face value.

    1. +1 I wouldn’t go quite that far. There is lots of good info in the post. But I would never contribute to a company that does that kind of livestock bashing. I wish Mark had edited that out or provided a disclaimer about it.

      1. What kind of livestock bashing do you see and what kind of disclaimer would be needed?

        I see a few short facts listed about nutritional content and a statement about the negative impact that raising livestock can have on the environment.

        1. There’s a very basic issue of trust at work here. They define your whole viewpoint on those “facts”.

          If you accept the statements about beef production/environment as a true fact, then it’s not bashing. If you are skeptical as to as to how (an unknown) someone came to those numbers and conclusions, as I am, then they are invalid arguments at best.

          Unfortunately, I know too much about math to trust any statistic completely, even if I tend to agree with it. And I do know for sure I’ve never run any cattle ranch. Add to that, I’m totally lousy at predicting the future, especially when involves such a complex system. So I tend to take such sweeping conclusions with a grain of salt.

          In my mind, he didn’t need the whole “save the planet” angle to “sell” cricket bars. For this crowd, especially, eating insects could stand alone as a good idea for nutrition aspects alone.

        2. Its simple. what Gabi said about cattle production is total BS when its done right.

          we finally find a form of agraculture thats totally sustainable, (no external inputs) and actually contributes to, instead of draining the soil. this is an actual directly positive effect on the environment. and now they want to trash it to promote their bugs.

          o0oo

          note, im talking about it done right, full grass pasture. not cafo, not “organic grain finished”. but even with that, your numbers in water are rediculous, and im surprised this somehow slipped past the editor.

      2. There’s a lot of good information everywhere. So much, in fact, that the better you know what you’re doing, the more important best first metrics of approximation become, and the better you can afford to instantly dismiss anything that violates them. If there’s valuable information in there, it’ll show up again eventually from somebody who knows better.

        You have to watch your informational diet too, and reduce the amount of nasty rhetorical sweeteners and additives in it. If your information diet is rich enough, it’s a lot more important to avoid the obvious bad than swallow any crap just to get some possible good.

        And with a nice synchronicity regarding envirowhining, this showed up in my feed just after my original comment (emphasis added):

        “In the face of heated public protest, on July 18, two local agencies in metropolitan San Francisco approved “Plan Bay Area,” a region-wide blueprint designed to control development in the nine-county, 101-town region around San Francisco for the next 30 years.

        ***The creation of a region-wide development plan–although it flies in the face of America’s core democratic commitment to local control–is mandated by California’s SB 375, the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008. The ostensible purpose of this law is to combat global warming through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. That is supposedly why California’s legislature empowered regional planning commissions to override local governments and press development away from suburbs into densely-packed urban areas. In fact, the reduction of greenhouse gases (which Plan Bay Area does little to secure) largely serves as a pretext for undercutting the political and economic independence of California suburbs.***

        Essentially, Plan Bay Area attempts to block the development of any new suburbs, forcing all population growth over the next three decades into the existing “urban footprint” of the region. The plan presses 70-80 percent of all new housing and 66 percent of all business expansion into 150 or so “priority development areas” (PDAs), select neighborhoods near subway stations and other public transportation facilities. This scheme will turn up to a quarter of the region’s existing neighborhoods–many now dotted with San Francisco’s famously picturesque, Victorian-style single-family homes–into mini-Manhattans jammed with high-rises and tiny apartments. The densest PDAs will be many times denser than Manhattan. (See the powerful ten-minute audio-visual assault on Plan Bay Area at the 45-55 minute mark of this debate.)

        In effect, by preventing the development of new suburbs, and reducing traditional single-family home development in existing suburbs, Plan Bay Area will squeeze 30 years worth of in-migrating population into a few small urban enclaves, and force most new businesses into the same tight quarters. The result will be a steep increase in the Bay Area’s already out-of-control housing prices. This will hit the poor and middle class the hardest. While some poor and minority families will receive tiny subsidized apartments in the high-rise PDAs, many others will find themselves displaced by the new development, or priced out of the local housing market altogether.

        A regional plan that blocks traditional suburban development, densifies cities, and urbanizes suburbs on this scale is virtually unprecedented. That’s why the Obama administration awarded the agencies behind Plan Bay Area its second-highest “Sustainable Communities Grant” in 2012. Indeed, the terms of the administration’s grant reinforce the pressure for density. The official rationale behind the federal award is “encouraging connections” between jobs, housing, and transportation.”

        That’s what’s consistently behind envirowhining, including the irrelevant shoehorning of this malthusian crap into any topic they can find, just like here: dominance; control; authoritarianism; exploitation. It’s just another scam.

  18. Whenever I’m cleaning shrimp, I ask myself why I love them but recoil (rather fiercely) at the thought of eating bugs. I try to reason with my brain, but the “gross” factor is strong! I have tried chocolate covered ants, long ago, & thought they tasted like a cross between raisinettes & smarties, but I can’t say I ever sought them out after that!

    As for sushi, I am crazy about it, but partly because I love nori, ginger, soy sauce (wheat free) & wasabi. Just plain raw fish… meh… definitely not as appealing to my palate. I know that makes me a wimpy American wannabe but I’m sure I’m not alone.

    Our local science museum has a bugfest every year where they feature insect foods, but none of them seem especially healthy– they usually involve candy, baked goods or breaded frying. Still, I took my kids every year when they were small, & they loved the dare-devil quality of eating BUGS!!

  19. I don’t really wish to try insects, but it actually sounds pretty good in a protein bar. Would enjoy trying that.

  20. I read an article about people in Africa who regularly ate insects. Interesting, didn’t want to run out and get the bugs/worms but probably would eat it if I was served it at someones house.
    However, it would be interesting to figure out what bugs here in the Pacific Northwest would be worth learning about, which ones to eat, how to fix them….. Other than that we could just have a good group of bugs and feed them to the chickens who would then produce eggs. Removes the ick factor even more.

    1. Yes, I agree. I used to think “how unfair is the world, some people don’t have anything to eat.”
      But now I think that there is actually food in many places, we just shouldn’t tell people used to eat insects that it is not proper food.
      In fact, we should learn from the local aboriginals which insects/plants are edible. It is much more sustainable.

  21. I like the idea. But when I look at the local pet shop where they sell insects as pet food they are all grain fed, raised on rolled oats and flour. Insects are mostly plant eaters, so will feeding them grain influence their health benefits? “Grass-fed” insects will be much harder to raise in great quantities. So I guess it all ends up with the same problems as with other animals.

    1. interesting point.

      haha grassfed crickets…. this is going to give us paleo people the last kick we needed to be officially named crazy zealots.

    1. Yeah, if I’m stuck filing taxes each year, insect eating is relegated to the ultimate survival food.

  22. The ick factor is too high for me to try. I keep picturing the scene in Indiana Jones where they eat all the weird food and then have to stick their hand in the insect infested wall to get out. Yuck!

  23. I attended an “adventurous eaters” dinner at a local restaurant that included ant eggs and coconut caterpillars on the menu. Of course both were fairly disguised – the ant eggs were served in a beignet and the caterpillars were part of a coconut dessert – but the flavors and textures were still prominent. My guess is that people wouldn’t be averse to eating bugs if they didn’t see or squash them every day in their own homes and gardens. If your house was infested by chickens and you had to kill them with a shoe, you’d probably be pretty repulsed at the idea of eating one. 😉

    1. I live in KY where the bugs are big and gross and have tons of legs, don’t even get me started on the spiders. I don’t think I could ever get past the revulsion.

      1. I live in NC, used to live in TX… very buggy, both, & worse yet, spidery! And I can guarantee one thing– I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever be eating a spider. (At least knowingly.)

        Hmm, come to think of it, maybe if you want to eat bugs you should go back to eating processed foods– I remember hearing many horror stories of how many bug parts per pound were legal in such stuff!

        1. Or just eat more broccoli, aren’t there lots of bugs in fresh from the garden broccoli? Cook it up without soaking in salt water to get them out, added protein. Mmmmmmm.

        2. Ha! Totally! I just fished a tiny green caterpillar out of my home-grown arugula salad– maybe I should just close my eyes & eat instead!

    2. Oh, and they were bamboo caterpillars, not coconut caterpillars. Some Asian markets in the US carry canned bamboo caterpillars if anyone’s interested in seeking some out.

  24. Cricket Flour?

    I would buy that in a second! I wonder, what does it taste like? Where to buy, where to buy?

    Could I use it instead of almond or coconut flour to make Primal Chicken Parm. or another similar food?

    The idea seems fantastic.

    Then there is the added bonus of putting cricket flour in my daughters food and watching her face after I tell her those primal brownies she’s scarfing down are made from bugs. Just think of all the great memories I could foster with this stuff.

    1. This is exactly what I was going to say! I would buy it to cook with LOOOONG before I would consider eating an actual insect whole. Eating a whole insect I’d worry about disease and other ickyness, plus, as much as I love crab and shrimp, I just don’t think I could handle the whole crunch aspect. I guess I’ve taught science too long!

  25. I like the idea of coconut fried fleas and it could be labeled “Flea Bag”

  26. I think the only thing I definitely wouldn’t eat is that maggot cheese I’ve seen. But heck, eating fried crickets or larva (a little salt, a little cayenne, a nice dipping sauce) with a cold beer, and watching a baseball game – beats the heck out of eating popcorn. And hidden in a protein bar would be a great way to eat bugs, even though half the fun would usually come from freaking people out.

    By 2050, though, I think Monsanto will have introduced a GMO cricket. And they still won’t be labeled. Although the idea of pastured crickets is fun. Cage free larva.

    Buggy Bars – it’s what’s for dinner!

    1. GMO Crickets…

      Now there’s a SyFy movie in the making.

  27. I think I could talk myself into eating a bug, just not sure where to find one that’s safe enough..

  28. Check out Chapul. Cricket bars out of Salt Lake City. Also, a great snack I found in Cuernavaca, Mexico: fried crickets with chile lime and salt!

  29. Oh, man, I have directed family and friends to visit this website in the past couple days and I dearly hope this is not the top blog post when they do because I will convert no one.

  30. We’re already eating insects.

    Look at the FDA website to find out how many insect fragments are allowed in our food.

    1. If it is not in the form that God made it, I do not eat it.
      But ANY bugs NO!!

  31. We have a local infamous and awesome convenience store. They have everything, including crispy fried grubs for snacking. I would have gotten them but they were dusted in artificial cheese stuff

  32. What a great project! Will support Exo on Kickstarter for sure.

    Quick Q: what is the temperature reached in the slow roasting the crickets? Thanks.

  33. My family is from a 3rd world country where pretty much anything goes for food. I never ask what I am being served, I just eat what is placed in front of me. Relatively sure I have eaten several flies while there. You cannot shoo them away fast enough as they are landing on your forkful of food as you are going from plate to mouth.

    Still, I don’t willingly eat insects and don’t intend to as long as there are alternatives.

  34. I’d be willing to give it a shot and see what its like. Too many of us are short-sighted when it comes to trying new things. Try it once and if you don’t like it then don’t eat it again but you may surprise yourself.

    Besides we all eat bugs anyway. Ever had peanut or almond butter? Not only does it have a certain amount of bugs allowed by the FDA but it also has rat hair and other “Defects”.

    Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 110.110 allows the FDA to establish maximum levels of natural or unavoidable defects in foods that you can consume in a given year. Here are some of our favorite foods and their “safe” defects.

    http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/SanitationTransportation/ucm056174.htm

  35. I think that group consciousness plays a large part in what we will eat. Sitting by myself and contemplating a plate of crickets, I doubt that I could force it down. But if I were sitting with a group of people who were calmly popping crickets into their mouths, I think it would overcome my gag reflex. (Backed up by anecdotes I have heard from world travelers.)

  36. I would really be interested in finding a U.S. source for 100% cricket powder. Then we could all have fun creating recipes to suit our own nutritional guidelines. Right now there must be thousands of recipes on this website using coconut flour. I can easily imagine the forum swarming with thousands of cricket flour recipes if it were an available ingredient.

  37. Great that someone is figuring how to bring insects to the broad market! I would definitely eat insects–the thought doesn’t bug me at all…in fact I almost nabbed a cicada while gardening a few days ago, but got hung up on the question, “what about the legs?” Cook the legs-on, take the legs off for eating? Eat the legs? Too spiny? Wings too? Hey Mark, will there be a Primal Insects Cookbook soon?! 😉

    1. Ew, ew, ew – the legs are the creepiest parts! However, I could get behind cricket flour, even if there are legs and wings ground up in it.

  38. This post led me to remember my time living in a small village in Cote d’Ivoire.

    One night, the kids surrounded the light outside the house I was staying in with a few buckets and lots of excitement.

    I watched from a distance.

    The next day huge bugs were drying in the sun.

    I was grossed out and intrigued. After a day in the sun, they shook bits and pieces off, like wings and legs and then bugs were fried with salt.

    It took some convincing and squeezing my eyes shut but my first bite was a shock. Delicious. I likened the flavour to hickory sticks. Maybe that’s the trick, instead of hidden in bar, get them salted in a bag to get junk food eaters to try bugs…

  39. I am so going to Kickstart this. I would totally eat those. I am dying to become a full time insect eater, although I don’t think that will ever happen. 🙂 The other people in my house are so squeamish…!

  40. Years ago I remember reading something that said that woodlice were essentially shrimp that lived on land instead of in the sea.
    Would I eat insects? yes if they were disguised enough. Cricket flour? yes I wold use it if I could get it and it was not prohibitively expensive.
    Actually I have eaten chocolate dipped crickets before – wasn’t too keen on the crunchyness though but the chocolate was sufficient disguise that there wasn’t really the ick factor.
    I don’t think I could crunch down on a whole undisguised insect though.

  41. I’m all for eating insects, but the nutritional content of an insect is still only as good as the ingredients it consumes and how it is processed. Are these crickets raised in cricket feedlots, eating GMO corn and soy? How is the flour made – is it heat treated/pasteurized/sterilized/made shelf stable? Or are the bugs dehydrated at low temps and then ground at low speed and maintain most of their nutritional benefits? And how are the bars made, and what makes them shelf stable? I imagine a fresh cricket is more nutritious than the flour, just like with a plant. The exo-skeleton of an insect is made up of chitin, which not all humans can digest, because we don’t all have chitinase in our gastric juices, which might muddy the water even further.

    And you don’t need to bash the livestock industry, just the current popular method of mass producing them. Proper grazing with livestock is one of the ways we can sequester carbon and reverse desertification – and if you haven’t seen Allan Savory’s TED talk – http://www.ted.com/talks/allan_savory_how_to_green_the_world_s_deserts_and_reverse_climate_change.html and aren’t familiar with his book Holistic Management you should watch and read them. Yes, cattle drink a lot of water and eat a lot(hopefully pasture, but usually stuff you don’t want to know about). However, most of what they ingest gets returned to the land in urine and dung, which can improve the soil if done properly. The Great Plains were once the most productive grasslands in the world and they supported buffalo herds with a density that we can only dream about replicating. Any figures about greenhouse gases and livestock has usually been distorted by animals raised on feedlots. They are not eating grass, which causes their stomachs to be acidic and therefore they burp and fart almost constantly and have to be fed antibiotics.

    I personally think an insect bar should be mostly insects, and definitely more than one kind, raised in as “organic” environment as possible. This current bar sounds like it will be an upscale almond bar with an insect twist. I will stick to eating as much “whole” food as possible, for now.

    1. Glad you mentioned Allan Savory’s TED talk. I was going to but you explained it so much better.
      It is the way cattle is grown, not the amount

  42. I’m sold. I just need a source. Is there like a U.S. Wellness Bugs out there somewhere? I need to be sure my crickets and grubs are organic.

  43. Sounds like the Egyptians missed out,
    when God sent the locust swarms.

  44. I believe this is a good idea, but the bar they sell has too much carb I must say.
    Also if you fed those bugs with soy bean or corn…then it still makes no sense…

  45. The author presents a false choice: Conventional feedlot operations vs no meat at all.

    But we paleo people do not advocate eating from conventional feedlot operations? Do we? We advocate eating pastured meat from natural (if managed) landscapes.

    There is some evidence to suggest, in fact, that natural grazing land management could be the KEY to HELPING our environment.

    (http://www.ted.com/talks/allan_savory_how_to_green_the_world_s_deserts_and_reverse_climate_change.html)

    Now, none of this says eating insects themselves is a bad idea. But I have a hard time thinking of a more processed food than an insect protein bar.

    I am all for Mark making some money, and having guest posts like this. A man has to put pastured bacon on the table, after all. But I am a little disappointed he would select this particular guest post. This author seems to have a very non-paleo mindset.

  46. I put butter and coconut oil in my coffee…then an egg in my coffee. No problems. But this? I just…can’t. Nope. Yuck.

    Sorry!

  47. Many insects and insect parts are poisonous or harmful to humans, maybe that’s why we have a natural revulsion to them. The line about getting away from our hunter-gatherer roots doesn’t make any sense. Just like mushrooms though, over the years groups of humans and other animals figured out through trial and error which ones were okay to eat.

    (But my dog, who likes everything, will spit out a piece of mushroom – he doesn’t SPIT out anything – spitting is not even very natural for a dog to do. It’s like “hey why you giving me this – this ain’t FOOD and might kill me!”)

    In Korea, a common street food and bar snack is silkworm chrysalis (Beon-de-gi). My younger brothers would buy it sometimes but I never tried it – the smell was so repulsive. Why would I eat that when I could have a hamburger or a bowl of noodles or a candy bar? For cripes’ sakes, LOL.

    I’m not convinced most hunter-gatherers ate insects as a standard part of their diets. It makes more sense to me that insects were the plague of our agricultural ancestors, who perhaps gathered and decided to eat the various insects attacking their crops. But pre-agriculturally I just don’t see it.

  48. Hey Mark S, we need to organize a Primal insect barbecue! I think that would be awesome!

  49. “It takes 3,290 liters of water to produce 150g of beef,”

    Really? Isn’t this that standard/stupid vegetarian exaggeration?! The one that includes all the water necessary to grow all the grain that cows should never eat, as well as the … I don’t remember what-all, … all the water necessary to float the barge to get the meat to market and for the boat crew to drink on the way?!

    And the societies that view eating bugs as ‘normal’ seem to mostly be the ones historically without sufficient foodstuff to NOT have to eat bugs. You don’t see any European or Chinese ‘tribes’ choosing bugs as a normal food. You DO see aboriginals or Africans or other starving populations coming to include insects as a ‘part of their diet.’ Even the Chinese — who went through some pretty horrible times (duck’s feet? really?) — do not include bugs among their foodstuffs! (And apparently many of the people eating the ‘rotted cheese’ that is Casu marzu kill or remove the larvae before eating the cheese.)

    Sorry, this is the wrong ‘solution’ to the unidentified/unmentioned problem — there are just too many people for the planet to carry! Learning to eat bugs might possibly hold off the population crash for a very short while, but not likely, and for not long. Most western people will never eat bugs (the limited acceptance of sushi notwithstanding — it may be ‘all the rage’ in some areas, but raw fish is still fish; not bugs). Maybe time and energy would be better spent trying to find a way to slow the overpopulation that’s leading to the suggestion.

    (And yes, a lot of my strong reaction is entirely normal disgust: bugs are disgusting.)

    1. A tribal Aboriginal of my acquaintance would be offended at the suggestion he only ate bugs because he was starving. The desert is full of food, if you know how to look, and witchety grubs etc are just part of that. A bit of variety from the usual goanna and ‘roo and snake. Kind of how you eat bacon because it adds pleasing variety to your diet.

    2. +1000!!!
      Too many people. That is the problem. Being responsible for our reproduction is necessary or nothing else will help ultimately. Not primal you say? Survival rates are MUCH higher now than at any time in history. We need to recognise this and be responsible to ourselves, our planet and especially our children. I’ve said it before: if we don’t deal with it, it WILL be our children and grand-children who have to. There…sorry for the rant. But insects sound cool by the way. I would try crickets in dark chocolate 🙂

    3. Ermagherd! Please do some actual research — like, go talk to a person from the culture you’re referring to — on Indigenous peoples and foods before you make those claims. It’s unnecessary to make those glib kinds of generalizations, and can be really alienating to the people concerned.

  50. Well I don’t want to end up paying a zillion dollars for some ‘miracle’ insect bar. I would like to learn how to grind some dried crickets myself and make my own recipes. Sorry I can’t donate to this company despite it’s good intentions, b/c I live by my economy first and foremost. Mark had a post about ‘super’ foods and I agree 100%. I do appreciate the suggestion though as of course brought by my conditioning never really considered eating insects.

    I would like to go to the local pet place w/ lizards and for them to sell me tons and tons of non-infected crickets for pennies on the $. 🙂

    I like to buy inexpensive eggs and I find even eggs to be ‘my’ protein bar or work out snack of choice. I honestly feel super amazing even just from a couple of hard boiled eggs.

    If I can expand my options to include insects which will meet my budget demands, I’m all up for it!!

  51. Just contributed some cash and look forward to the samples. I like your concept of burying the insect into other food. Best way to introduce the US to the idea of eating insects.

    1. Snack bars aside, cricket flour sounds like an appealing replacement for the omnipresent soy flour as a way to up the protein content of mass-produced food.

  52. Ew. Crickets don’t smell good. Maybe if you made the bars from grasshoppers. As for me, I prefer sea insects.

  53. Sounds like Mark will be putting his money where his mouth is;)

    I’m still struggling with the gag reflex of eating bugs even though I’m on board intellectually with the concept. If packaged in a tasty little morsel however…maybe!

  54. I’ve eaten heart, liver, tail, lamb brain, sweetbreads, kidneys. Would like to try snail.
    No issues trying crickets! Woohoo get ’em to New Zealand!

  55. 20 years ago for a publicity stunt while I was on the radio as “Macy in the Morning” I was challenged to eat worm cake.

    It was crunchy, nutty and pretty tasty. I realize cake isn’t primal, but in this case– for publicity, the early radio guy got the worm (and had his cake and ate it too.)

    I used to make grasshoppers as a bartender–never thought of eating them! I guess you could have a praying mantis say grace before a meal.

  56. You could actually market the gross out factor to some kids. ever see the harry potter jelly beans?

  57. Insects are good for you and perfectly primal. Everyone who eats insects, stand up and cheer!
    .
    .
    .

  58. I think this is a great idea, but I chime in with others who have said it’s too carby and has too many grams of sugar. I couldn’t even tolerate this as dessert much less a snack. I used to eat so-called energy bars all the time before I embraced the paleo/primal paradigm, and now I just see them all as candy bars. It makes sense your rationale for the high carbs being that you have to compete with all the other bars on the market, but hopefully if this idea succeeds you can come up with a version, as you said, that is way less sugary. Also agree that cricket bar is a cool name! Good luck!

  59. How about cricket flour as a the protein base in a smoothie?
    Cup of unsweetend almond milk
    A big scoop of cricket powder (Instead of Whey Protein Isolate)
    A tablespoon of Cocoa
    A tablespoon of Stevia
    A tablespoon of Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
    A small handfull of walnuts
    A big handful of orgainic kale
    4 or 5 strawberries

    Smoothie it up in the Vitamix.

    Wonder how that would taste?

  60. I always thought this was the missing part of paleo. While it seems clear that people have always liked to eat big ruminants, surely in most places at most times during our evolution we relied heavily on the more easily available small stuff – everything from aphids to crickets to lizards to rabbits (and of course, all the plants.) If my kids were little prehistoric hunter gatherers, I can assure you that instead of waiting for the big boys to come home with a bison at dinnertime, they’d be snacking on all the snails and grasshoppers they could catch.

  61. Sushi, prawns, white ants and locust go very well together. It is a sad thing that the west may be waking up to the truths that have been else where on the planet since the beginning of time.

    Try white ant and locust heads for libido. Kids in Africa do not suffer silly allergies because they eat insects. See how smooth their skins are next time you watch those horrible adverts of people begging for money on their behalf!

    1. I doubt allergies are caused by insect-deficiency, since in the west we’ve had many generations allergy-free without eating bugs: I personally think there’s something to the “hygeine hypothesis,” because people with pets have kids with fewer allergies, and also the airborne chemicals in substances like fabric conditioner that are becoming more common and cause exposure to toxic chemicals right from birth onwards.

      As for our ignorance, it must be gratifying to take a pop at “the west” (I assume you’re leaving deprived areas of very-western south America out?) but in reality, it would also be nice for the developing world to wake up to the realities of boiling all drinking water, and specifically, differentiating cesspits from sources of drinking water, because unsafe drinking water alone kills over a million children per year.

  62. I like the idea of insect protein being made available as an additional food, I salute you on the concept, and understand that you need in the first instance to make this appeal to the mass market for sweeter bars, and to push the environmental angle by comparing them to CAFO meat, in order to get this accepted as something other than a novelty. 🙂

    Personally I’d definitely buy this type of product if you leaned one bar heavily towards being a meat-substitute, maybe flavoured some with miso or herbs like sage that have a meaty taste, and sea salt, and I think that’s more likely to be popular with paleo/primal people like me, who anyway don’t always have so much of a sweet tooth.

    I am peeved that all snack food bars are on the grain/fruit/carb axis, so if I saw a cricket protein bar that tasted more nutty, or like chicken or something, and ideally had very low carb grams per bar, I’d be all over it to fuel me on long walks, or before meetings as a quick protein boost. I imagine that keeping the carbs low would also make it appeal to the wider Atkins & low-carb markets as well.

    Apart from jerky and tinned fish in brine, there are almost no really convenient animal protein-based low-carb portable snack foods, at least not ones that don’t need to be kept cool (like cooked cold meat) or have a ton of additives (eg: Spam, corned beef), to have when you’re walking or trekking cross-country in the summer.

    As for questions, I’d want to know:

    1. what you feed your bugs on, at least to know there’s no potentially GMO feed there, and how that feed compares to what they’d eat in the wild;

    2. what (if any) pesticides and other non-nutritive chemicals they’re exposed to during their lives;

    3. how do you kill them? And finally;

    4. how the slow roasting affects the fats in the insects, and the proteins?

    I don’t know if you’ll have time to reply here but these are the things that would stand between me buying a half dozen, if for example I saw them promoted in GNC next time I pop in. 🙂

    But as a general comment I think it’s an exciting area, in harmony with primal living, and a new potential source of nutrients to round out our diets. 🙂

  63. So if I catch some crickets/grasshoppers in my garden, then crush up those bad-boys with my Pestle and Mortar, I’ll have a high-protein, super-flour I can then add to various recipes. Sounds good – as long as I don’t end up like the dude in Jeepers Creepers I’m all for it. Would I get similar nutritional benefits from other ‘crunchy’ insects? What’s the nutritional value of a Woodlouse? Loads of them in my garden. What about soft insects like Moths?

  64. I avocate eating insects and feature them on my website. But when I hear the false claims related to reducing pasture land used for meat animals for more “efficient: food I know there is a dictator in the woodwork. Indeed, scratch a liberal find a dictator. Reducing pasture land used to raise beef and the like does not translate into more people better fed. It translates into more people fed more poorly. The problem is over population, not meat.

  65. About how much protein does the average cricket contain?

  66. I’m phobic about some insects, especially beetle-like and grasshopper/cricket-like bugs. As a result, the idea of eating bugs really squicks me out. Intellectually, I can totally get behind the idea, but actually doing so is another thing entirely. That being said, cricket flour completely removes the ick factor for me. I do believe that I would be perfectly okay with eating one of those protein bars.

  67. Let’s all start eating insects like the UN wants, so that instead of 7 billion people we can have 14 billion people on this planet. Wouldn’t that be great? Surely nothing bad could come from that, right?

  68. $100 backer here! Great idea! I did not read the posts above, but I hope there are plans for a low carb/no sugar version. The current proposal is way to high I carbs for me. But it’s a great idea so I invested anyway. Good luck!

    1. Thanks so much for the support! There are absolutely plans for a lower carb version. This is just the first step.

  69. I remember eating ants as a child – not as any sort of regular meal, of course, but just out of curiosity. For the record, they taste slightly sour, in a nice way. I’d try crickets, but I don’t want to eat processed food to eat them. I’d rather learn to cook them myself or eat them at someone’s home or a restaurant.

    But then again, I’m a very adventurous eater. I’d try anything once.

  70. I have been living in Mexico for several years and I can say that there are several insects that are at least good if not excellent. Ant larva are excellent and have a caviar consistency but a flavor that is almost like dirt or cement (not bad but not excellent). Cricket legs are amazingly good and I have a hard time eating some soups without them. The ones I buy are fried in garlic and saffron and add flavor to any dish they are then dried and you use them like a garnish.

  71. Great article! I’ve just dontated $40 to your campaign, and hope to be chowing down soon 🙂

  72. C’mon people. Before going paleo you probably ate processed food most of your lives. Processed food is dripping with insect parts! Have you ever looked at the levels allowed? You’ve been eating bugs most of your life, not to mention rodent feces and dirt. The government has limits set for all of this stuff and there are plenty of stories about farmers pre-market testing their grain and adding enough dirt to get it to the allowable level, thereby increasing their profit. Not saying that I believe the stories, but I know a family that got caught adding urea to their wheat so that they would get a better price for their “high protein” wheat. The real question is: will some government agency eventually set a limit to how much fructose poisoning is allowed in your insect bar? 🙂

  73. I’ve never tried bugs before, but I’m pretty much willing to try anything once. Having said that, I’d almost rather try my bugs the traditional way (however that is) or in some kind of amazing, uppity, pretentious, overtly-expensive Hollywood meal where I’m *eating bugs* instead of just consuming some cricket protein in a bar. But, if someone were to come up with a haute-cuisine cricket appetizer or something like that, I think these bars would be a great way to ride the wave of that trend.

  74. SHOUT OUT TO GREG SEWITZ’s PRODUCT BEING ON MY FAVORITE BLOG!!!

  75. I eat insects all the time when I am out in the woods, my favorite our Black Carpenter ants they have fruity flavor they really are real treat. I have not had crickets or grasshoppers, but have had scorpions, meal worms and ant larva all of which was fairly bland and tasteless.

  76. In theory there are many supporting theories and facts on eating insects . But I have that yucky feeling when thinking of insects . So, I think I will pass. Your post is a revealing one and arguments are solid.Nice post.

  77. I’ve eaten well over a hundred ants this summer. Also a few flies, most of four yellowjackets (stingers removed), and anything that happened to land/crawl on me. Stinkbugs taste bad, and moths, hairy caterpillars, etc. are unappetizing, but most anything else is still on the “try it” menu.
    Sadly, this is currently my only source of organ meat.

  78. I researched eating bugs recently for an article I wrote for my editing class. http://www.stowawaymag.com/2013/07/on-eating-insects-bugs-bite-is-it-time-to-bite-back/ Pretty interesting topic and has got me interested in learning more. Also, sounds similar to Exo but there is a company out of Salt Lake Utah making a simialr bar call Chapul. You can purchased bars from their website http://chapul.com/ (And no, I have no affiliation with them). I’ve heard they are pretty good. I’d be interested to know what kind of flavor cricket or grasshopper flour has or if it is fairly neutral tasting. Seems like it could make an amazing unprocessed protein powder.

  79. I have recently ordered some sample packages of locusts and mealworms along with an insect recipe cookbook on the internet in order to try it out as I have been interested in eating bugs for a while now.
    The insects are purposely grown in my home-country (The Netherlands) in a protected environment (i.e. a warehouse) by certified growers and are freezedried in order to be able to preserve them (for up to 1 year).
    I would probably not go out in the fields to catch any live bugs any time soon!

    The cookbook (in Dutch available only for the moment I think) explains the history of entomophagy which shows that 70% of the world’s population actually eats bugs on a regular basis.
    Only in the western society we are not used to eating them, while we do eat crustaceans, frog’s legs and what more as delicacies 😉

    My personal experience so far: they are not a bad eat.
    To eat them straight from the jar is not very special as they are freezedried so there is not much flavor to them.
    As soon as the are being processed though and soak up either oil or water or when they are heated/grilled the nutty flavour comes out which taste’s nice.
    So far I have used the bugs in a bean chili, in omelets, with grilled vegetables and in several salads and I think they are here to stay!

    The locusts come with the legs taken off already but the wings still on, they have to be removed before cooking.
    My girlfriend is not entirely up for it yet: she has tasted it all but does not include them yet in her meals. I guess it’s a mental barrier that needs to be crossed;)

  80. Anyone who wants to eat bugs is invited to my place for a free all-you-can-eat buffet.

    And if you eat the damned cricket that has lived right outside my door for several weeks, I’ll even pay you.

  81. I found a roadkill red squirrel, still warm, and cut it open and ate its heart and liver raw. It was delicious.

  82. I bought all 3 flavors about a month ago (I bought the 12-pk with 4 of each flavor from their site exo.com) and the PB&J is my favorite!

  83. How are the Exo bars different than the bars from Chapul? Also, does anyone know a good source for purchasing affordable cricket flour in bulk?