Two chirpy CHOICE staff sampled new Grilo energy bars made from organic cricket powder, and their opinions were divided (watch our video below). Priced at $17.99 for 4 x 45g bars, there are cheaper energy/protein bars on the market, but there's definitely an intriguing novelty factor to insect-based foods, and if you're keen to give edible crickets a go, we say, jump to it!
Price: $17.99 for 4
Eating insects could be the way to solve world hunger, protect the environment and add extra nutrition to our diets, said a report released by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN back in 2013.
Since then, edible ants, insects and even worms have been crawling onto the menus of high-end restaurants across Australia (and in fact, there are many cultures who've been munching on bugs for centuries).
But now you can add insects to your weekly supermarket shopping list, with a range of organic cricket energy bars, protein powders and even whole roasted crickets available in IGA (the first supermarket to bring edible crickets to our aisles). But what do they taste like and could this be the new food of the future?
Is something bugging you?
Wondering why you might want to eat an insect? Well, they're good for the planet, and they're good for you, too. According to the 2013 UN report, insects emit fewer greenhouse gases and less ammonia than cattle or pigs, and they require significantly less land and water than cattle rearing.
They're also highly nutritious and, depending on what bug you're digging into, can contain a range of proteins, vitamins, fibre and minerals. Crickets in particular are being touted as a more sustainable source of protein, and the bars and powders are also gluten free and dairy free.
Bug bars: which flavour tweaks your antennae?
What's available to buy?
The new cricket range from Grilo includes energy bars in three flavours (choc mint, cacao fudge and banoffee pie), cricket powder/cricket flour to add to smoothies and baking (as well as a Super Greens version containing spirulina, maca, turmeric and cinnamon) and, for the full insect-eating experience, packets of organic roasted whole crickets.
"Looking into alternative protein sources can only be a good thing," says CHOICE food and nutrition expert Rachel Clemons.
"If you can't get past the slight 'ick' factor of eating a whole cricket, the energy bars and powders are an interesting option to explore, particularly as a protein alternative for people who have dairy intolerances or allergies."
Jason and Marg inspect their insect snacks.
Cricket tasting notes
Our first willing taste-tester, Jason Treuen, says: "The first time I ever ate a bug, I was cycling and a fly flew into my mouth at 20km an hour. This tasted much better."
"These cricket bars look and taste very similar to other protein bars, which isn't surprising given they're also made of nuts, dates and seeds. They have a moist, sticky texture and a pleasant-enough flavour. They're slightly pricier than other similar products I've seen, but I noticed they had double the protein of another brand, so that's good."
His partner in bug taste-testing, CHOICE managing editor Marg Rafferty, says: "I can't say I'll be rushing to try these a second time, but having said that I'm not a big fan of protein bars anyway, so I don't think it was necessarily the crickets that were to blame."
"To me, they didn't taste any different from any other protein bar I've tried, so if you do like these types of snacks I'd guess that you probably wouldn't even notice much difference between the Grilo product and your usual bar."
Another CHOICE staff member and keen taster, Ash Iredale, says: "I'd happily go to bat for cricket-based protein." Boom-tish.