Baking with bugs

If one were asked to imagine a meal that contains a bug, one is automatically reminded of television shows like “Survivor” and “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here.” Bugs are not part of the accepted diet, at least in America. The only edibles containing insects tend to be shots of tequila with worms or scorpions floating at the bottom of the glass. With the recent influx of international cuisines and diet requirements leaving chefs with the challenge to adapt, it may not be all that surprising to those in culinary schools online that bugs have been called to the table. That’s right – bugs are taking the place of flour as a tasty new alternative that also provides protein.

The cold hard facts
Medical Daily recently released an article stating that 100 grams of crickets is equal in protein content to 100 grams of meat. Not only are the bugs better as a nutrient-dense food, they also are more usable as an industry product, as nearly 80 percent of a cricket is edible. On top of that, the harvesting of bugs as a replacement food resource could potentially reduce pollution, according to a United Nations study.

Your daily cricket
Cricket flour has taken the nation by storm, inspiring many companies to incorporate the product in their energy bars, cookies and chips. The common wholesale cricket flour tends to be mixed with regular flour because the cricket powder itself lacks basic baking properties. Hopper Energy Bars, a company in Austin, incorporates cricket powder into its health bars.

“If someone eats one of our bars and enjoys it, they’re open to the whole insect thing,” said Jack Ceadel of Hopper Energy Bars when interviewed by The Austin Chronicle. “Our mission is to approach the problem of normalizing this, because it’s important to re­introduce insects into the Western diet, for sustainability reasons – but also for health reasons.”

Many other companies have taken on the mission to introduce crickets to the market. Exo and Bitty Foods are two large producers of baked goods that contain the bug. Exo, featured in The New York Times, was started by Greg Sewitz and Gabi Lewis, two students at Brown University. Looking for a not-so-sugary energy option, the two combined cricket powder, spices and dried fruits.

“At the end of the day, it’s a protein bar,” Sewitz​ said.

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