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The Future of Protein Really Bugs Us (‘Cause It’s Crickets)

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Your protein shakes could soon be loaded with insects — seriously. Eating bugs could be the newest trend to hit the wellness world in 2018, and it’s already generating a lot of buzz.

The key is cricket flour — it’s eaten similarly to protein powder and is rich with nutrients. A single serving of cricket flour has triple the protein of a serving of steak and twice that of chicken.

Of course, cricket protein is definitely not vegan. But it does offer an alternative to more typical animal proteins (such as meat or whey) that harm the environment when produced on a mass scale.

Milling crickets is far more environmentally friendly than farming livestock. Producing cricket protein uses 95 percent less water than traditional farming practices for production of lean meat and whey. It also reduces animal waste — 80 percent of the cricket’s body can be eaten, whereas only 40 percent of a cow is ever made edible.

The idea of supplementing protein with insects isn’t new. In 2013, Exo Protein Bars kicked off the trend with their Kickstarter campaign. Despite widespread skepticism that anyone would willingly consume a bar of milled crickets, the bar company exceeded even their own expectations. Four years later, you can find them, along with other copycat brands of cricket-based bars, at Whole Foods and nationwide retailers.

So why is the alternative product making its way back into the spotlight? Companies have caught on to the widespread benefit of using crickets as a principal source of protein in the American diet, and they’re finally making moves. A gigantic cricket farm is opening up in Austin, Texas, dedicating 25,000 square feet of productivity to making cricket food mainstream.

As 2018 rolls in, start to digest the idea of eating crickets for breakfast. They could be blowing up on the shelves this year. For our other predictions for 2018’s food trends, click here.

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