These Blue Sky Companies Sell Cricket Foods Worth Chirping About

Crickets and other insect proteins are rising as an environmentally-responsible alternative to meat and even vegetarian protein sources. Supporters say that cricket flour contains twice as much protein as beef, 15 percent more iron than spinach, and is high in omega-3 fatty acids. They point out that cricket flour offers micronutrients such as calcium and B vitamins as well. And they can be raised in a basement, versus tapping out land and water resources required by other protein sources. Crickets, for example, need 12 times less feed than cattle, four times less feed than sheep, and half as much feed as pigs and broiler chickens to produce the same amount of protein, according to a UN Food and Agriculture Organization report in 2012. The report said insect proteins could be the solution for widespread famine and water shortages.

Here are companies built around insect proteins:

Aketta raises its crickets in Austin Texas and sells flour and flavored roasted crickets. What do they taste like? “We roast our crickets to bring out their natural nutty, earthy flavors. Aketta whole roasted crickets taste similar to sunflower seeds. Our cricket powder has a deep, earthy, umami flavor with hints of raw cocoa, “ the website says.

Bitty Foods, Exocricket Bars, Chirps and Chapul sell snack foods ranging from energy bars to chips to chocolate bars and protein powders. Bugsolutely is a Bangkok company that has cricket-based pasta. Cricket Flours in Portland OR offers flavored roasted crickets, flour, brownie mix and protein powders.

Several farms now specialize in producing both live crickets and cricket flour: Big Cricket Farms was the first farm to receive FDA Food Grade certification for raising crickets for human-consumption. The founder of the company Kevin Bachhuber created a compelling TED Talk in 2015 worth watching. And if you want to raise your own crickets to eat, there’s an urban basement farm and non-profit in Brooklyn that teaches classes!