A new line of energy bars are being marketed on the health benefits of their most unusual ingredient – crickets.
The bars are produced by Chapul, a Salt Lake City-based company, which claims that using insects reduces the amount of fat in their bars.
Chapul claims that while both cows and insects are 57 percent protein, cows are 43 percent fats, while insects are just 22 percent fats.
‘It basically means that insects have similar protein contents to livestock, but are healthier because they have less fat,’ said Chapul founder Pat Crowley.
Insects are a common element of diets throughout the world. Some 80 percent of the world’s population intentionally eats 1,700 species of insects for food including bee larvae in Japan and grasshoppers in Mexico.
Now Crowley believes the time is right to convince mainstream America that insects should become part of their diet too.
The crickets in Chapul’s energy bars are ground into the flour used to make them and so there are no legs, claws or antennae present to put off squeamish American tastes.
‘We thought the people who would be most receptive are environmentally conscious and food conscious people who already eat healthy products and energy bars,’ he told ABC.
Crowley likens current American attitudes to eating insects as similar to how people were repulsed by the idea of eating raw fish before sushi became extremely popular.
However many Americans will be shocked to learn that they already consume lots of things such as rice, beans and floor that have traces of insects in them.
The Food and Drug Administration allows all kinds of 'insect fragments' in food - up to 60 per 100 grams of chocolate, 30 per 100 grams of peanut butter, and up to 10 whole insects per 8 ounce of raisins.
The Chapul Bars - it means cricket or grasshopper in Aztec - are sold for about $3 in 30 locally-owned stores in 12 states, and Crowley expects to double the retail locations in the near future.
There are currently two flavors - the Chaco bar (peanut butter and chocolate) and Thai bar (coconut, ginger and lime), but that is expected to double also.
Related: Eating Worms: More Than Just a Juvenile Torture Device, a Way to Save the Earth