Ah, the great outdoors. Nature is filled with breathtaking waterfalls, majestic mountains, and creatures who find homes in our forests and oceans. Some animals give us the warm fuzzies (hello, koala bears!) and others, well, we’d rather avoid them all together.
From lighting candles on picnic tables to spraying bug repellent on our arms and legs, we spend considerable effort warding off insects, bugs, and other creepy crawlers—so it might be surprising to learn that to many people, bugs are considered a food source. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 2 billion people ate a variety of insects as part of a regular diet in 2013.
Insect consumption has a long history in many regions of the world. In the eighth century B.C., servants in the Middle East carried locusts on sticks to royal banquets, and in ancient Greece, eating cicadas was considered a delicacy.
Enter Exo, a company pioneering the consumption of insects as a nutritious and sustainable protein source. Its first product is a line of nutrient-dense food bars made with ... cricket flour!
Ounce for ounce, cricket powder has almost triple the amount of protein found in sirloin steak, and double the amount of protein found in chicken. It’s also a good source of iron, calcium, and fiber. Exo’s gourmet recipe was developed with premium ingredients by a three-Michelin-starred chef, and you won’t find any gluten, grain, soy, dairy, or refined sugars inside. With irresistible flavors like banana nut bread and cocoa, these bars make an ideal meal-replacement or healthy snack.
If you need more convincing, here are some ringing endorsements straight from our members!
Also made with: almonds, apricots, blueberries, apricots, flaxseeds, coconut
“Who knew? I love these bars and it's always fun to tell people I'm eating cricket flour.”
"My husband takes one to work everyday and his co-workers are always asking for a nibble because of the novelty factor. So far no one has turned up their noses! Don't be afraid of this, the UN even recommends more human consumption of insects for food."
"Folks, this is the future. And it's delicious."
Also made with: Sunflower seeds, bananas, prunes, flaxseeds, vanilla extract
“Wow!! These are absolutely delicious, and not a trace of cricket taste. They are a tasty, chewy, satisfying treat, with extra nutrition as a side benefit. I am extremely impressed!”
“These bars are delightfully chewy and taste really good. There's absolutely no taste of crickets or even anything slightly off, so if you're hesitating because of that, don't!”
"I like the flavor and texture of these bars. They are moist and delicious. I love the idea of sustainable protein from crickets, too."
Also made with: Almonds, prunes, apples, apricots, flaxseed, vanilla extract
"Everything about these bars is great! The ingredients are top of the line, as is the taste ... I've tried a TON of different protein bars and these are the best I've had! Worth a try!"
"The Apple Cinnamon Exo bars are awesome! The cricket flour was a pleasant surprise, and I'll be coming back for more. Soft, chewy, and not overly sweet so no sugar crash."
"All-natural, simple ingredients ... and no cricket-y aftertaste!"
Also made with: Almonds, dates, coconut, honey
"I love the taste and the texture of these. To me, they taste intensely figgy. They're especially good with strong cup of coffee. My favorite bar ever!"
"I'll mention this first because it was also my biggest concern: No, these do not taste like cricket or have any "crickety" textures, and yes, [the cricket flour is] extremely finely ground (i.e. I didn't find any cricket legs or antennae while eating my bar—trust me, I looked). Definitely didn't disappoint."
"If it didn't say 'cricket flour' on the wrapper, you would never know that's what it's made with! I truly think these are the perfect snack, super tasty and very satisfying."
Photo credit: Alicia Cho