The all-female executive team behind Chirps Chips recently announced that their cricket-sourced product doubled its revenue from 2017 to 2018. Approximately 1,200 stores nationwide stock multiple flavors from the Chirps Chips line, including Kroger.
Many countries view bugs as a viable food source. Meanwhile, Americans tend to exhibit a lot of squeamishness about this topic. Will changing attitudes about eco-friendly eating push bug protein into the U.S. mainstream? Chirps Chips certainly hope so. And, the UN claims the 2,000 edible bugs in our ecosystem are high in protein, provide essential amino acids and vitamins, and are much more environmentally friendly than cattle.
The UN predicted it, and cutlery designers are banking on it: In 50 years, we’re all gonna be eating bugs. If you want some practice, you might want to spring for some Chirps Cricket Protein Chips https://t.co/UuJUj8o6oO
— Atlas Obscura (@atlasobscura) February 27, 2018
Celebrities Describe How Bugs Taste
Celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Justin Timberlake embraced bugs as food years ago, touting the benefits and the surprisingly familiar flavors. Ant eggs have a buttery taste and freshly roasted termites from sub-Sahara Africa bring bacon to mind. According to Chirps Chips co-founder Laura D’Asaro, caterpillar tastes like lobster. Crickets, she says, are reminiscent of shrimp.
Chirps Chips Come in Three Flavors
Potato chips are the number one snack food in the U.S., with each American consuming an annual average of 6.6 pounds worth of chips. The rising trend toward eating more protein and less sugar puts protein-rich Chirp Chips in a good position to keep increasing revenue. After all, insect protein is keto-friendly, making it a good choice for snacky dieters.
Chirps Chips doesn’t steer clear of its source material. Each bag comes emblazoned with the “Eat Bugs” logo and also clearly lists crickets as their main ingredient. Yet this doesn’t seem to deter eco-conscious consumers. Some of whom have even added these chips to their holiday celebrations.
— Dr. Anne Estes (@MostlyMicrobes) April 21, 2019
A major advantage that Chirps Chips have in the insect protein marketplace is the size, shape, and crunchiness of their product. They look like a cross between a tortilla chip and a Dorito, and you can get them in three flavors: BBQ, cheddar, and sriracha. Not content to merely infiltrate the snack food aisle, Chirps Chips also offers a cookie mix and cricket powder.
Chirps Chips Practices Entotarian Living
Several members of Chirps Chips’ executive team came into the bug protein world after being long-term vegetarians. They still don’t consume animal products, but the addition of bug protein caused the invention of a new phrase: entotarian. In most cases, entotarians are people who are vegetarians or vegans, aside from the addition of bugs into their diet.
With only 18 followers on the Entotarian Facebook page and a very small presence on Twitter, it’s clear that most of the world hasn’t caught on to this slowly growing movement yet. Growing concerns about the harmful environmental impact of meat may soon change things. And, North Carolina is pegged for a major invasion of edible bug products.
Solving Food Insecurity
North Carolina provides a solid example of a state that can’t always rely on typical food sources. An estimated 25 percent of the state’s children face food insecurity, and 1.5 million residents don’t have regular access to a grocery store. Bitwater Farms started working on this problem with an edible bugs startup located in North Carolina, but the company didn’t survive.
A lack of capital funding can make it exceedingly difficult for innovative businesses like Bitwater Farms to keep their doors open. Chirps Chips benefited from an appearance on Shark Tank that prompted Mark Cuban to invest $100,000 in the company. Since then, Chirps Chips picked up $40,000 more from a Kickstarter campaign, plus an extra $20,000 in funding from SNAC Tank.
A Winning Combo for the Environment
Crickets are 12 times more efficient than cows in terms of converting to edible food. Bugs are also more health-friendly and don’t tend to have issues with e. Coli and listeria, although people with a shellfish allergy may not be able to eat them.
Plants are healthier overall than eating meat, and scientists believe that switching to a global plant-based diet would save millions of lives annually. Experts say that Americans must cut 84 percent of their current red meat consumption to help save the planet. The founders of Chirps Chips believe crickets and other bugs can easily fill this void.