Chapul Cricket Bars are full of protein -- from actual crickets
John Beers of Chapul Cricket Bars doesn't think so, and he's on a mission to change hearts and minds -- by chirping about the health and environmental benefits of eating cricket corpses.
I've eaten bugs before. I adore those Crickettes -- sour cream & onion is the best flavor -- and Larvettes that Hotlix makes. My friend's mom introduced me to fried mealworms and locusts. And I've even downed a fried grasshopper here, a fried beetle there, and a few handfuls of ants -- both plain and chocolate-covered. So I have no qualms about stuffing my craw with crickets for business or pleasure, and am more than happy to try Chapul's two protein bar flavors: the peanut butter and chocolate Chaco bar, and the coconut, ginger and lime Thai bar.
J. Wohletz Chapul Cricket Bars: Chaco and Thai.
But first things first. I have to ask Beers the most obvious question: Why the chirping hell would the folks at Chapul use crickets in their protein bars when they could just as easily use more traditional ingredients that would be more palate-normative?
"It sounds a little wacky, I know, but there's an environmental consciousness behind our use of bugs," says Beers. "All of us at Chapul have a history with water. Our staff is comprised of whitewater rafting guides, watershed management specialists and amateur anglers. Because of these backgrounds, water conservation plays a major role in our lives. By using crickets as the primary source of protein in our bars, we move away from the standard but water-intensive energy bar protein sources of soy and dairy (whey)."
So using more crickets equals using less water? I can dig that, and even shorten the message to "Save water: shower with friends while eating milled cricket flour protein."
J. Wohletz The Chapul Thai bar up close -- no sign of antennae.
Chapul started production last year, and then gave the company a boost. "Over the summer we ran a successful Kickstarter campaign that has enabled us to begin distribution all over the western U.S., beginning with Colorado," Beers explains. "Being a very young (a year) and small (four people) company, we've managed to find a niche in the food business and have begun to swing folks out of the commonly-held notion that insects are not meant to be on the table."
I just have to ask Beers the second most obvious question: "What is your opinion about Americans' issues with eating insects? What specific things have you done to try and bring people around to eating crickets?"
"The biggest issue we have in the acceptance of our bars is the cultural shift needed in the mindset of Americans that it's not only acceptable, but responsible to eat bugs," he replies. "Because the only edible insects on the market in the U.S. today are novelty items, we've tried to make Chapul bars both palatable and accessible to the average consumer."
No antennae or legs sticking out? If you ask me, Chapul is skipping the best parts.