Exo is a Brooklyn-based startup that is trying to change the way we think about eating bugs. And the company is starting with cricket protein bars.
Cofounders Greg Sewitz and Gabi Lewis started experimenting with cricket-based food when they were seniors at Brown University, after reading a United Nations report that said eating insects could help combat world hunger.
That might seem like a tough sell to an American audience, but the pair raised a $US1.2 million seed round in late 2014 from Collaborative Funds, Tim Ferriss (also an investor in Twitter and Uber), and others. And they are currently have the highest sales in the insect snack space — admittedly it’s not that crowded.
The pitch is that with 65% protein content, “cricket flour” — basically ground-up crickets — is much better for the environment that other animal sources. Cows, for example, produce about 100 times the amount of greenhouse gas for the same amount of protein, according to Exo.
But what do the bars taste like?
That’s what we really wanted to know, so we decided to try them out ourselves. The bars are made from certified organic crickets, bred for human consumption, and there are approximately 40 crickets in each bar.
Here’s what they were like.
This flavour tasted a bit too much like soy sauce, and smelled like it too. Maybe they were trying to counterbalance the peanut butter taste, but it ended up in a weird between sweet and savoury.
I loved this flavour. It had a pleasant fruity taste, and the vanilla wasn't too overpowering. It's actually one of the best protein bars I've ever had.
At around $3 per bar, they are a bit expensive, but so are most protein bars. The difference between the two bars makes me think the crickets weren't what tasted bad, that the formula was just off -- at least for my taste buds. I would definitely have the blueberry vanilla one again.
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