Functional Foods: Cricket Chips

When most Americans think of insects, it’s probably not as part of a nutritious meal. But interest in using more sustainable sources of protein is leading some consumers to change their minds about living the insectivore life. Cricket flour has found success in protein bars over the last few years, and Six Foods is hoping to bring insects to snack foods with the aptly named Chirps.  

When most Americans think of insects, it’s probably not as part of a nutritious meal. But interest in using more sustainable sources of protein is leading some consumers to change their minds about living the insectivore life. Cricket flour has found success in protein bars over the last few years, and Six Foods is hoping to bring insects to snack foods with the aptly named Chirps.  

“There are protein bars and cookies, but we are the first savory snack made with insects,” says Laura D’Asaro, cofounder, Six Foods. “With protein as an increasing trend, consumers are increasingly looking for high protein snacks, and eight of our Chirps have more protein than an egg.”

Chirps first became a reality in May 2014 when a Kickstarter campaign helped the company raise $70,000. Aside from the novelty factor, the biggest appeal of cricket chips may well be their environmental sustainability. Compared to the 2,000 gallons of water needed to produce 1 pound of beef, it only takes 1 gallon of water to produce the same amount of cricket, says D’Asaro. She adds that crickets can be humanely raised and harvested, and produce just 1% the greenhouse gases of raising cows.

“We realized that this could have a huge impact if we could get people over the ick factor,” says D’Asaro. “We created Chirps as a way to get Americans excited about eating insects in a more familiar form. We want to take people on a journey from insects as an ingredient all the way to insects as a meat replacement.”

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Image from Six Foods