Why Cricket Protein Bars Might Be The Future

Protein bars aren't anything new. People around the world use protein bars for replacement meals or on-the-go snacks. While they're considered "healthier" than eating a candy bar, there's no standardization regarding ingredients. Protein bars can be filled with carbs or sugar, along with protein. CookingLight reported that some protein bars can have more saturated fat than a Big Mac. 

Still, some protein bars are nutritionally sound. Eating Well listed five protein bars that are packed with nutritious items like nuts, chia, dates, and oats. But there's one ingredient that you might be seeing in your protein bars in the future, and the answer might "bug" some people.

Smithsonian Magazine reports that protein bars using crickets might be your next favorite snack. Crickets contain more protein than chicken or beef, and raising them are more environmentally sound. Crickets require less food and water to raise and produce one-eightieth the amount of methane as cattle. Eating insects sounds great in theory, but how do they fare as, well, fare?

A snack of crickets

A company called Exo makes food items from crickets. According to its product website, crickets are "the closest thing to a perfect protein source this planet has ever seen."  The company makes protein bars, but don't think that you'll have little legs and wings sticking out of your snack — the bars are made with powder comprised of 100% milled crickets. Smithsonian reports that even though each protein bar has the equivalent of about 40 crickets, the ground cricket flour doesn't taste like much of anything. The bars also contain raw almonds, coconut, honey, and other tasty, natural ingredients. 

Though the United States is a little behind in its insect consumption, many other countries enjoy insects as food. The Conversation reports that many countries in Africa practice entomophagy, the word for insect eating. People in Nigeria, South Africa, Congo, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and others consider insects such as caterpillars, termites, and crickets part of their diets. 

Eating insects can also help the planet. Time magazine reports that 80% of the world's farmland is used to raise and feed livestock, even though animals only account for 18% of global calorie consumption. Using insect protein as an alternative to animal protein can reduce the land and resources used to raise animals for consumption.