A guide to buying edible insects
Welcome to the exciting world of entomophagy! Below you will find a list of North American companies producing edible insects in various forms - from snack bites to protein powder to roasted whole. Start wherever you're comfortable.
Are you ready to eat some insects? The facts are out and it’s hard to argue with them – insects are the perfect answer to people’s desire for protein without the environmental costs that go along with animal agriculture. Raising insects for human consumption uses far less water, land, and food than livestock, and insects emit almost no greenhouse gases.
From the Entomo Farms website: “These insects contain 70% protein, more calcium than milk, more iron than spinach, and almost 20 times the amount of B12 as beef.”
The one major roadblock is getting over our North American squeamishness at the thought of eating crickets, mealworms, grasshoppers, buffalo worms, locusts, and the like. (Then come the Rhino beetles, black and yellow scorpions, and Queen Weaver ants!)
Fortunately, companies promoting entomophagy, or insect-eating, have devised a number of ways to sell their products. You can now buy a wide range of insect products, some more processed than others, that may or may not remind you of the fact that they contain insects.
I have compiled a list of North American sources for purchasing insects online. (There are many more selling insects in innovative ways in Europe than here, but these can involve costly shipping.) This list is not comprehensive and product lines evolve rapidly as research dollars and interest in insects grows.
INSECT FOOD PRODUCTS
Seek is an American company that sells a product called Cricket Snack Bites. They are little, nutrition-packed balls, loaded with protein, calcium, iron, and omega-3 fats. Gluten-free with no added sugar. You can order many flavors, including chocolate chili, pecan peach, and almond goji berry, online.
Six Foods combines bugs with beans to make tasty tortilla-like chips that come in cheddar, sea salt and BBQ flavors. Made with cricket flour, Chirps Chips are sustainable and nutritious. Order online.
One Hop Kitchen
Based in Toronto, One Hop Kitchen makes bolognese sauces with crickets and mealworms. Wondering why it's a good idea? There's 10g of protein per 1 cup, half the saturated fat compared to beef, one third less cholesterol compared to beef, three times the vitamin B12 of beef. From the website: "It's good for you and great for the planet. Every jar of our sauces saves over 1900 litres (300 gallons) of water compared to a beef-based sauce." Contact online to order.
INSECT PROTEIN POWDERS & BARS
This company has made headlines for the $4-million in funding it received from Accel foods earlier this year. Exo makes only cricket protein bars and does a very good job doing it. The product is delicious and comes in a range of sweet and savory flavors. My family has been eating Exo bars for the past several months and enjoyed them. (Read my review here.)
A new Montreal-based company, the Näak bar is similar to Exo (with 10g of protein per bar) and is made with all-natural, real ingredients – dates, cocoa, maple syrup, orange peel, sunflower seed butter, chia, fleur de sel, and of course, cricket powder. Order online.
Featured as one of the World’s 20 Hottest Startups by CNBC, Crik has taken the insect world by storm. It only makes protein powder, which comes in 3 flavors – vanilla, sweet vanilla, and chocolate. You can order online.
INSECT FLOUR & POWDER
Aketta grows its crickets in the United States and fills orders on a first come, first serve basis with weekly harvests. The company sells cricket flour and whole-roasted crickets. Flour is made from 100% milled crickets and has a “deep, earthy, umami flavor with hints of raw cocoa.” Sold in small batches of 1 to 1.5 lbs. Order online.
This U.S. company has an excellent website with tons of details about how their crickets are raised. For example, the crickets are never exposed to pesticides, tended daily, hibernated prior to processing, and every batch has mandatory bacteriological tests. Thinksect’s product is called a protein powder, but it can be used as a baking flour too. Check out the recipe section with mouthwatering photos. Order online.
Griopro sells the finest, lightest-colored, most functional cricket powder on the market. It can be used in a wide range of ways, from protein shakes to baked goods. One-pound bags are available, as well as larger quantities. Order online.
JUST PLAIN INSECTS
This Québec-based company sells a few different cricket products, including boxes of whole roasted crickets, made with no added seasonings. From the website: “The crickets can be tossed in your salads. You can also cook them to eat them as chips with different flavours like BBQ, salt and pepper, paprika or lime and chili.” Order online.
Entomo Farms is a bigwig in the entomophagy world, selling lots of different products. Their roasted crickets, mealworms, and super worms come in regular and organic lines, and can be purchased plain or with seasonings such as BBQ, Moroccan, honey mustard, sea salt and pepper, and ‘fire and brimstone.’ Livestock and pet feed, as well as wholesale orders available. Order online.
Rocky Mountain Micro Ranch
Colorado’s first and only edible insect farm, Rocky Mountain Micro Ranch raises crickets for wholesale to restaurants and food manufacturers. It also carries a full line of edible insect products from certified producers, including cricket powder. So if you’re wanting to get into crickets in a big way, this is the company to contact. Internet orders must be made over email. See website for more details.