Instead of reaching for a bag of Hot Fries, will Americans soon be grabbing hot flies?
In a widely publicized report last year, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization made the case for all humans to consume insects, on the grounds that they are great for the environment, our bodies, and our economic livelihoods. The truth is, 2 billion people around the world already consume creepy crawlers, and the U.N. suggested that it’s time we in the West see bugs as delicious, not disgusting.
We may be closer to our insect future than many realize. Consider the March 21 episode of Shark Tank, the ABC reality show where inventors and entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to a panel of investors. Chapul founder Pat Crowley presented his line of energy bars made with cricket flour, and after a few predictable questions about whether Americans could stomach the bars, billionaire Mark Cuban invested in Chapul to the tune of $50,000 and 15 percent equity.
It turns out Chapul is not alone. At least two other start-ups are making products with cricket flour, and a handful more specialize in snack foods, prepared meals, and even live insects and insect farming kits. Here are five that are leading the way into our entomophagic future.