Bay Area Startup Chirping Over Its Cricket Flour; High-Protein Insect Foods May Be On Cusp Of Wider Acceptance

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A Bay Area startup company is hoping to get people hooked on high-protein foods made out of crickets.

Bitty Foods makes and sells cricket flour – made from slow-roasted crickets that are milled and combined tapioca and cassava flour – along with cookies made with the cricket flour.

Insect-eating is common in many parts of the world A 2013 United Nations report detailed the possible increased role of insects in human food consumption, noting that they are a highly nutritious and healthy food source with high fat, protein, vitamin, fiber and mineral content.

During a TEDx session on the future of food earlier this year in Manhattan, Bitty's founder Megan Miller said insects are the most efficient form of protein on earth.  According to the Bitty Foods website, a cup of cricket flour contains 28 grams of protein.

Miller told the New York Times she hopes her company will appeal to gluten-free eaters and so-called 'Paleo' dieters who avoid carbohydrates and seek more protein-rich foods, saying cricket flour could replace wheat flour in many food staples.

"Our population is growing. And by the year 2050 they're saying there's going to be an extra 2 billion people on our planet. And there could be a protein shortage in the future," Miller told KPIX 5. "

"Yeah, they're bugs. But you know we already eat crabs, and lobster, and other arthropods that are really similar to crickets. I think crickets are a really good bug to start with. People call it the gateway bug."

The U.N. report on edible insects said crickets are one of the most sustainable foods on the planet, and adoption in mainstream diets could reduce costs of food by a third globally, while lowering greenhouse gases associated with meat production.