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Chapul to launch world's first cricket snack bar

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July 6, 2012

The creators of the Chapul Bar consider eating insects a way of conserving resources

The creators of the Chapul Bar consider eating insects a way of conserving resources

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After a successful Kickstarter campaign, a protein energy bar made from crickets is set for an August launch. Chapul claims its bar is the first in the world to use the ubiquitous summer chirpers as a source of protein. And they're not necessarily as gross as they sound.

The natural assumption when confronted with the idea of a snack bar made from crickets is something along the lines of a bunch of crunchy insects lodged between oats and nuts and drizzled in chocolate. The Chapul Bar isn't nearly as offensive (or awesome, if you dig eating straight insects). In a process that it says was inspired by the Aztecs, Chapul bakes the crickets before grinding them into a flour that's used in the preparation of the energy bars. You won't have to worry about stringy cricket legs stuck in your teeth, and you probably won't even detect much of a savory, crickety flavor.

So outside of making for some "what the...?!" head turns, why use crickets in an energy bar? Founder Pat Crowley is dialed in to the arid ecosystem of the American Southwest thanks to a graduate degree in hydrology and a lifetime of exploring the Colorado River. Disturbed by the inefficient use of the Colorado's waters, Crowley is fostering the idea of eating insects as an alternative to resource-intensive agriculture. According to numbers he cites on Chapul's website, insects convert grass and grain into protein as much as 10 times more efficiently than cattle. He believes that by converting some of our protein intake to insects, we can better manage valuable land and water resources.

Chapul Bars derive some of their protein from cricket powder

Okay, saving the water and nature of the world may be a heavy task for something as insignificant as an energy bar, but Chapul Bars do have some more immediate benefits. The crickets provide protein, iron and calcium with very little fat or cholesterol. The company claims that the cricket flour packs about a third more protein per ounce than leading protein powders.

For what it's worth, a quick nutrition comparison with my personal favorite energy bar - a 3-oz ProBar cherry pretzel - shows that the 1.8-oz Chapul Chaco Bar has less protein (6 g to 10 g), fewer calories (220 to 370), less carbohydrate (29 g to 48 g), less fat (9 g to 17 g) and much less sodium (30 mg to 270 mg). I'm a little surprised at the protein number (isn't that why I'm eating crickets?), but what the ProBar lacks in cricket powder, it makes up for with a list of protein-rich ingredients like peanut butter, nuts and sunflower seeds.

In terms of taste, the Chapul Bars don't sound all that bad (though we are yet to sample one) - once you get past the idea of cricket powder. The Chaco Bar includes chocolate, dates, agave nectar and peanuts, and the Thai Bar includes ginger, coconut and lime. At the very least, those recipes sound like solid alternatives to some of the dry, chalky plywood-in-a-wrapper that other companies label "energy bars."

Chapul just wrapped up a successful Kickstarter campaign, in which it raised about 60 percent more than the $10,000 it was seeking to finance its first production run. Crowley told us that its first priority is to get its Kickstarter rewards out to supporters. From there, it plans to begin selling energy bars on its website by mid August. They'll retail for US$2.89 per bar or $30.99 for a dozen. It will donate 10 percent of its profits to water conservation projects in the Southwest.

Source: Chapul

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work.   All articles by C.C. Weiss
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11 Comments

Your ProBar is bigger than the Chapul bar. The ratios of all the nutrients look about the same between the two bars, except for the sodium.

Kim Holder
6th July, 2012 @ 07:33 am PDT

I've had a few and they're actually pretty good. I think some friends of mine know Pat. They taste like a really dense Clif bar, but less sweet. I think he really got the flavors and texture right because there is no indication you're eating insects and it's not insanely sweet like other bars. I think it's a complete protein source, so that's good, and it doesn't have the weird milk taste of whey. This post sounds like an advertisement, but I'm really not affiliated with the company. It's just a decent protein bar.

Matthew Lalonde
6th July, 2012 @ 12:57 pm PDT

Perhaps it should be called 'John the Baptist Bar' since he is known (in the Bible) for eating locust and honey (crickets are similar to locust). :)

Knowing that it isn't whole crickets in it but ground up ones makes it more appealing. :) It would be neat to try it.

BigGoofyGuy
6th July, 2012 @ 01:09 pm PDT

You should really do the comparisons to equal weights worth, i.e. what would a cricket bar have in it if it was 3oz or what would the ProBar have in it if it was 1.8oz. 1.8 is 60% of 3 so it's easy to figure out. If the ProBar was to be cut down to 1.8oz, then it would have 6g protein, 222 calories, 28.8g carbs, 10.2g fat, and 162g sodium. So, they're about equal in density of each with the exception of the ProBar having a lot of extra sodium.

RD2000
6th July, 2012 @ 01:26 pm PDT

You do realize that some foods that have #40 red dye in it, which is made from insects , right? http://www.boston.com/news/globe/health_science/articles/2006/03/06/are_insects_used_to_make_food_coloring/

spchtr
6th July, 2012 @ 03:22 pm PDT

I've eaten Fried Crickets in Thailand. They are good. So are Fried Scorpions and Bamboo Worms. Americans would rather eat that newly advertised 100% Bacon Burger so they can die of Heart Failure..

Dewey Kerr Jr.
7th July, 2012 @ 09:36 am PDT

Why not have an African version made with locusts? They are plentiful, and bigger than crickets. Could be a good export product. I have often wondered if they are eaten by humans, as a good source of protein.

@spchtr: yes, the red colouring is made from the cochineal beetle, and is natural.

@BigWarpGuy: Would you eat ground up worm bars? They are a good protein source as well

windykites1
9th July, 2012 @ 05:00 am PDT

I've eaten crickets in Thailand, they go great with beer!

Paul Anthony
9th July, 2012 @ 10:32 am PDT

@spchtr According to the article, red dye #40 is made from coal tar, however other red dye is made from the cochineal beetle.

Paul Anthony
9th July, 2012 @ 10:44 am PDT

"Desert shrimp" (locusts) is already a big commodity in northern Africa, not mention Snapple has been using crushed beetles in it's orange colored "made with the best stuff on earth" products for decades. This isn't that big a shock. Still, I'd be curious how insect based foods perform in the largely culinarily conservative american population.

sk8dad
9th July, 2012 @ 03:09 pm PDT

There's a pretty good TED talk about how we can save the world by switching to eating insects. Of course there are plenty of good, envirnmentally friendly plant sources of protein (obvious if you think about what protein is) but insects are pretty efficient at converting vegitable matter into energy, unlike domestic vertabrates.

Charles Bosse
9th July, 2012 @ 09:02 pm PDT
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