Consuming bugs is now a consumer trend. Entrepreneurs looking for new protein sources are starting to see some success in selling edible insects, so we decided to get a taste of the trend – literally.
It’s called entomophagy — the age-old practice of eating insects.
“[Bugs are] not only a good source of protein but a good source of fat, and it’s the sort of fat that’s unsaturated, good for our brains and heart,” explained Theresa Crocker, the director of nutrition and dietetics at USF.
Specifialzed farms across the country are raising crickets for human consumption, and as health buffs look for alternative proteins, business has picked up for some startups specializing in bugs.
Chips called “Chirps,” made by SixFoods, are marketed as having three times the protein of normal potato chips. They’re sold by online retailer Thrive Market at more than 70 airport terminals and just got a deal on the reality show “Shark Tank.”
Cricket flour is one thing, but are Americans ready to eat straight up bugs? To answer the question, a group of reporters did what any responsible reporter would do — ordered up hors d’oeuvres and threw a party in the newsroom.
“We’ve got chocolate coffee crickets, sour cream and onion, and sriracha crickets,” we offered, along with something called Bugitos. “It’s just a toffee coconut Bugito — you like mojitos, you like Tostitos, you like Doritos. How about a Bugito?”
“After you chew it up really well, there’s a little bit of a gross aftertaste. Not like I’m going to hurl, but like I wish I hadn’t have eaten it.”
“They taste like nothing. They just taste like dirt,” said Margaret Grigsby — until she came across that sour-cream-and-onion one that shut everyone else down. “This one has flavor, but it’s not a good one.”
That one did her in, too. “Taste test is over. I need water.”
The global edible insect market was valued at $424 million last year.