Eating insects: Cricket bar taste test

cricketbarsThe kids saw these Chapul Cricket Bars on “Shark Tank” a while back, so naturally we had to order some and give them a try — especially after the UN came out with that report a while back suggesting humans should start cultivating insects as food.

The Aztec bar contains dates, cocoa, cricket flour, espresso beans and cayenne.

The Aztec bar contains dates, cocoa, cricket flour, espresso beans and cayenne.

These bars come in three flavors: Aztec (dark chocolate/coffee/cayenne), Thai (coconut/ginger/lime) and Chaco (peanut butter/chocolate). A sampler pack of 2 bars of each flavor cost $18 plus shipping. Yes, there really are crickets in there, but it’s not like you crunch on actual bug bodies; they’re ground up into a flour.

Cricket flour isn’t the most prevalent ingredient, either. It’s listed fourth on the Thai bar (after dates, almond butter and cashews) and the Chaco bar (after dates, peanuts and organic raw honey) and third on the Aztec bar (after dates and cocoa).

We did a two-part taste test — one in which the tasters knew they were eating insects, and one in which they didn’t.

Test One: Full Disclosure

The Thai bar contains dates, almond butter, cashews, cricket flour, honey, coconut flakes, ginger, salt, sunflower oil and lime.

The Thai bar contains dates, almond butter, cashews, cricket flour, honey, coconut flakes, ginger, salt, sunflower oil and lime.

As I said, the kids ASKED me to order these cricket bars. When they arrived, however, both Cassie and Colleen refused to taste them. (Colleen cited her vegetarianism as an excuse; Cassie just didn’t feel like it.) Ben, however, clearly had no problem eating ground-up bugs. He not only broke into the stash of bars ahead of the scheduled taste test, but he snuck an entire Chaco bar later — even though I told him we were saving them for a second test.

Ben liked both the Thai and Chaco bars but didn’t care for the Aztec bar. “It wasn’t the cayenne,” he said. “That was fine. It was just the coffee flavor. It was gross.”

Bob tried only the Aztec bar, out of curiosity. “They weren’t offensive, but they weren’t appealing, either,” he said. “They were kind of bland. It was easy to imagine them being packed with insect exoskeletons.”

I tried all three bars and thought they were… OK. Not gross because of the bug factor, just not so delicious I’d seek them out on their own.

Test 2: Surprise!

Next we took the remaining bars to Grandma’s house, describing them as “gourmet energy bars.”

My niece Madison tries the  cricket bars, which were advertised as "gourmet energy bars."

My niece Madison tries the cricket bars, which were advertised as “gourmet energy bars.”

My niece Madison was championing the Thai bars, telling everyone the ginger gave them a taste reminiscent of pumpkin pie. She was disappointed in the Chaco bar — perhaps because she was expecting something closer to a Reese’s peanut butter cup flavor. She was not a fan of the Aztec bar.

My sister-in-law Darcy was not overly generous with her assessment of any of the bars, indicating they were “slightly less appealing than cat crap.” (I should note that this was her comment even before we revealed the cricket factor.)

My sister Traci didn’t want to risk trying them because of her nut allergy. The funny thing was, she was scanning the package to figure out if nuts were included, but never realized they contained crickets. “I just thought that was the name of the bar,” she explained.

My brother Brent and brother-in-law Gunnar also tried a couple of bites before the secret ingredient was revealed. Neither one was a fan.

For the record, no one screamed or made retching noises when they realized they’d been eating crickets. But then, no one except Ben had a very big piece. It’s safe to say they’ve all likely consumed more insect parts in their regular diet than they did in this taste test.

Conclusion

While there may or may not be a future in humans cultivating insects for food, these bars don’t seem to be anything special, other than as a novelty item.

“They’re OK,” said Ben, who said he’d be willing to eat one but not buy one. “But they’re expensive and they’re not that great and they don’t even have that much protein.”

Darcy pronounced the cricket bars "slightly less appealing than cat crap."

Darcy pronounced the cricket bars “slightly less appealing than cat crap.”

 

 

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Eating insects: Cricket bar taste test

  1. I’m not a big fan of eating insects. I think what they should do is use ground up insects to feed livestock. Livestock needs protein and by the time a hamburger ends up on our table it wont look or taste like a bug.
    This seems like a no brainer to me.

    • tischcaylor says:

      Good idea. I also forgot to note something my brother-in-law mentioned: If this is cheaper agriculture, then why are these bars so expensive (about $3 each, plus shipping)? Since each bar is less than 2 ounces each, that makes them $24 a pound — way more than meat. … Still, a lot of cultures do eat insects in some form or another, so it could happen to us someday..

      • That’s the problem w/ a lot of these specialty foods – expensive.
        I saw this on TechKnow or a show like that. They don’t just collect these bugs out in the field. They are grown in cages in a controlled environment. That is probably why they cost so much.
        To make cattle feed, there must be a cheaper way to do it.
        An interesting and not even new idea. I think there are some possibilities.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s