Crickets are the Next Quinoa, NYT Suggests
Crickets and other edible insects may be poised for widespread popularity, according to recent New York Times and NPR stories. Cricket flour—pulverized crickets in powder form—offers several nutritional benefits to consumers, including high levels of protein. The flour is gluten-free and compatible with the Paleo Diet, which eschews carbohydrates in favor of meat and vegetables, and cricket flour production is more environmentally friendly and sustainable than other forms of protein production, proponents say. The problem, edible insect-based food producers say, is the “ick factor,” the psychological aversion to eating bugs that many Americans have. According to NPR, marketers have pursued “intelligent cutesiness” to overcome that burden and convince new customers to try insect-based foods, including attempts to rebrand locusts as “sky prawns” to assuage consumer fears. “It tastes like dark toast,” as one investor described cricket flour to The New York Times. Another first-time customer praised her bite of a cricket flour-based cookie, telling NPR, “It tastes like coconut. Tastes like food, not like bugs.” See The New York Times, August 2, 2014, and NPR, August 7, 2014.