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BAR HOPPING

Crickets power new protein bars and snacks

One-third of young people consumed a protein bar in the past six months, motivated mainly by a desire to lose weight or recover after a workout. While health-focused consumers’ fixation with the macronutrient shows no sign of slowing down, alternative forms of protein are gaining traction amid concerns over the environmental impact of traditional sources; plant-based protein is on the rise along with more sustainable animal-based alternatives like crickets.

COAST PROTEIN

Coast Protein, a Vancouver-based company specializing in cricket protein products, recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to scale production, improve packaging, and add cricket protein powders for smoothies to their product offering, hitting their goal in less than 72 hours. The startup currently sells small-batch cricket protein bars to various retailers across Canada. Available in two flavors—peanut butter and dark chocolate raisin—Coast Protein locally produces around 1,000 cricket protein bars by hand every week and is now ready to expand into the U.S.

​BUGEATER FOODS

The founders of Nebraska-based startup Bugeater Foods want to help people overcome the ick factor associated with eating insects. Crickets, a notable source of sustainable protein, are a key ingredient in the company’s signature protein shake called the Jump (available in coffee or chocolate flavor), as well as in a new line of pasta and rice products. To help fuel the company’s growth, the U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded Bugeater a $100,000 small-business grant to help the company find new ways to turn insects into safe, healthful staples that appeal to the American palate.

​LITTLE BABY’S

Just in time for summer, Philadelphia’s Little Baby’s Ice Cream launched an unexpected addition to its line of handmade frozen desserts: “Cricket Cake” ice cream. The company blends crickets that have been turned into environmentally-friendly flour by the Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion into its small batch ice cream, minimizing crunchiness and making it arguably more appetizing than ice cream topped with crickets. Eco-friendliness and sustainability have long been priorities to the company; its ice cream containers sold in supermarkets are 100% recyclable, an industry first.