Are Crickets the Next Big Protein Trend?

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Do you consider yourself a food adventurer? If so, then perhaps eating crickets doesn’t sound so far fetched. That's right: crickets.

One of the reasons they are gaining in popularity is that these insects are an excellent source of protein, with about as much as an equal serving of eggs. One hundred grams or about 3 1/2 ounces of crickets contains 121 calories, 5 grams (g) carbohydrates, 13g protein, and 76 milligrams iron. 

Crickets are also popular because you need less land and water for raising and harvesting them compared to livestock, and they release much less greenhouse gases (a.k.a. really bad smells from cows). Also—think about it— it is a much safer and healthier way to reduce insects without using pesticides.

For these reasons and probably more, many new companies are starting to jump on the bandwagon. But instead of serving whole crickets, which some think the U.S. consumer isn’t ready for (who could argue that?), they are roasting and grinding them into flour. Bitty Foods, who market their products as “Paleo," sells cookies on their website made with cricket flour as well as straight cricket flour for those who want to do their own baking. Another company called Six Foods uses cricket flour to make a chip called “Chirp” (rather clever name if you ask me). And the start-up Exo makes three varieties of protein bars with cricket flour in them, each having 10g protein per serving.

RELATED: 10 Portable High-Protein Snacks

One problem, though, is currently the USDA says it doesn't know of any relevant legislation that covers the production of insects as human food, which makes farming them a risky business. (You could say that again.)

In any event, I am sure we have not seen the last of these critters. With the current craze of Paleo, I could see this high-protein cricket flour popping up more and more. Perhaps we will see it used more in other products that are made with flour, such as bread, pasta, and pizza dough.

However, I personally will simply listen to the sound of the crickets at night and wish that they never come close to my plate. How about you? Let me know in the comments below, or tweet @kerigans and @Shape_Magazine!

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