Culinary startup turns crickets into cash

Global Business

Walk down a busy street in China or Thailand, it’s not hard to find food vendors selling a variety of crispy, crunchy and occasionally, juicy insects. However, in the U.S., such sights are rare to non-existent. But eating insects could become a trend if consumers can be convinced they’re a healthy choice. CCTV’s Shraysi Tandon reports.

Greg Sewitz and Gabi Lewis are founders of Exo, a new startup company that makes protein bars with cricket flour. In addition to raw, natural ingredients such as dates, almond butter, cacao and coconut, Exo’s protein bars have 10 grams of protein, sourced exclusively from crickets.

Sewitz and Lewis were inspired by a 2013 United Nations report on food security. They also have greater ambitions to help reduce global greenhouse gases and solve the global food crisis.

“Crickets require fraction of the resources compared to conventional livestock. It’s between 10-20 times more efficient to raise crickets for protein than cattle. On the methane side, crickets produce 80 times less methane than cattle, they reproduce at a much faster rate, single female cricket can lay 1500 eggs in a few weeks, and you can farm them vertically as well, so less feed, less water, less space,” Lewis said.

Exo’s protein bars are currently sold in a 150 locations across the U.S. and shipped internationally.

Startups may need to get more creative to meet consumer needs and stand out from the crowd. For more information on exploring tech trends in food, CCTV America interviewed Mary Beth Albright, an attorney and food technology writer.