Chapul energy bars have been gaining a lot of attention lately. Perhaps you saw them featured on the television show Shark Tank. But chances are, if you've heard of Chapul bars, it's because of their unusual ingredient: crickets.
Chapul energy bars have been gaining a lot of attention lately. Perhaps you saw them featured on the television show Shark Tank. Or maybe you noticed that they were dubbed one of the best new energy bars at this year's Expo West. But chances are, if you've heard of Chapul bars, it's because of their unusual ingredient: crickets. The idea for insect energy bars first occurred to Pat Crowley in 2011. As he researched the topic, he realized that insects are a rich source of protein, iron and omega-3 acids. They're also low in cholesterols and fat. With those kinds of benefits, it's no wonder that about 80 percent of the world's population include insects in their diet. Of course, most Americans aren't too keen on the idea of eating anything with six legs. Undeterred, Crowley launched a Kickstarter campaign. The initial goal was to make a batch of 2,000 cricket bars and launch a website. Donors from around the globe supported Crowley's unorthodox energy bars. Given the international appeal of an insect diet, it's unsurprising that the money came from more than a dozen different nations. Crowley used the Kickstarter funds to buy bulk ingredients and produce his inaugural batch of bars. As sales grew, he was able to expand his operations. "The increase in positive reception within the food industry in only two years has been truly amazing," says Crowley. Despite the positive reception that Crowley has experienced, many people reading this will still have lingering questions. Like are the crickets in Chapul bars crunchy? And how do they taste? The answer to the first question is no, they're not crunchy. Sure, there are crunchy ingredients in the energy bars like cashews and peanuts. But the crickets themselves are dried and then ground into flour. As for the taste, that's up for personal interpretation. While the presence of crickets is probably a huge deterrent for some people, I found the energy bars to be delicious. Because dates are the primary ingredient, they taste similar to the popular fruit and nut bars made by LÄRABAR. If I hadn't known there were crickets in the Chapul bars I tried, I never would've guessed there was anything odd about them. Chapul bars currently come in three flavors. The Chaco Bar pairs the classic combination of peanut butter and chocolate. The Thai Bar is more exotic, blending coconut, ginger and lime. And the Aztec Bar is made with dark chocolate and a kick of cayenne. Will edible insects catch on locally? Crowley is optimistic that they can. On the Chapul website, he says that if Americans can change their mindset, insects could very well follow the path of another exotic food – sushi. He points out that sushi was unpopular in the 1960s, but as celebrities and other influential individuals embraced raw fish as a gourmet option, it gradually became socially acceptable. Whether or not insects become common cuisine is yet to be seen, but for now, the makers of Chapul energy bars are proud to be among the leaders of this unique trend.%3Cimg%20src%3D%22http%3A//beacon.deseretconnect.com/beacon.gif%3Fcid%3D162894%26pid%3D46%22%20/%3E