QUIT BUGGING ME!
Insect-based snacks proliferate
Snacking on insects is no new concept to billions of people across the globe, but this dietary habit is finally making its way to markets in the U.S. and UK. This is a timely move, as the edible insects market is predicted to exceed $522 million by 2023 due to both its small carbon footprint and the high source of protein, amino acids, and vitamins inherent to insect protein. Recently, startups and established brands alike are jumping on the bug bandwagon.
Cricket-based snack brand Chirps strongly encourages its consumers to “eat bugs,” and even espouses this right on its snack packaging. The brand’s most popular snack is its Chirps Chips, tortilla-esque chips made with cricket flour. The chips come in three flavors—sriracha, cheddar, and BBQ—and each full-size bag boasts a whopping 20 grams of protein, while the single-serving bags contain five grams of protein. The brand also sells a cookie mix and a cricket powder, which is touted as a “superfood” by the brand. Chirps’ goal is to get U.S. consumers excited about eating bugs, as insects contain a high amount of protein and could be a viable replacement for environmentally-unfriendly meat protein.
UK snack brand Eat Grub sells snacks made with multiple varieties of bugs. Like Chirps, Eat Grub offers cricket-based products along with other edible bugs like mealworms, grasshoppers, and buffalo worms. Demonstrating the increased popularity of insect-based snacks, Eat Grub recently became a snack vendor to popular UK food chain Abokado, providing Abokado shops with Eat Grub’s sweet chili- and lime-flavored roasted crickets. Abokado is the first UK restaurant chain to sell such a snack and will be offering it not only as a bagged snack but also as a topping for its salads, poké bowls, and hotpots.
In an effort to offer more sustainable yet still protein-packed snacks for its customers, Selfridges partnered with French artisanal edible insect company Jimini’s to create an exclusive line of bug-based, upmarket snacks. The resulting product range consisted of basil fusilli pasta, pumpkin seed granola, and dark chocolate protein bars, all of which were made with either cricket flour or ground buffalo worms. Selfridges initially tested out the popularity of these snacks by offering them at pop-ups called “bug bars.”