I’m not a picky eater, and will try almost anything once. Cow tongue? Bring it on. Sweetbreads? Fine. But when someone recently offered me an Exo Protein Bar, I panicked. Exo (as in “exoskeleton”) has the same ingredients as most bars of its kind—flaxseeds, almonds, dates—but derives its protein from cricket flour, also known as Acheta Domesticus. Apparently, the noisy critters are high in protein (10g), free of gluten, soy, dairy, artificial preservatives and refined sugars, and highly sustainable (crickets produce 100 times less greenhouse gases than cows).
Eating bugs isn’t a new thing. Crickets are currently enjoyed all over the world for their micronutrients, iron, and calcium. Exo’s co-CEOs Greg Sewitz and Gabi Lewis have just found a way to include the ingredient in our Westernized diets without our palettes being able to detect the taste or texture of insects. So I sucked it up and sunk my teeth into a Peanut Butter & Jelly Exo Protein Bar, on high alert for a little crunchy cricket leg. But there was none. In fact, the bar was downright delicious, and I’ve since purchased the other three flavors. See for yourself with a variety box ($36; exoprotein.com).