Will bugs become the new mainstream superfood?

By JESSICA IVINS

Salmon, spinach, acai and beets may soon have to make way for a new superfood — bugs.

While the thought of consuming the creepy, crawly creatures may have you gagging, consider this: They’re actually every health advocate’s dream. Packed with protein (twice as much as beef), B12, iron and omega-3s — they’re also low in fat and cholesterols, which is precisely why Americans should consider integrating insects into their diets.

At least that’s the argument of environmentalist Pat Crowley, founder of Chapul, the maker of Original Cricket Bar. His product was the first insect-based nutritional product in the U.S., and his mission now is to introduce the company’s signature cricket flour into mainstream grocery stores.

“You can use (cricket flour) as an all-purpose flour to make muffins, pancakes and cookies, but the day when you’ll go to your neighborhood grocery store and pick up pre-packaged foods like pasta made with cricket flour is right around the corner,” he told Yahoo Health.

Cricket flour is made from slow-roasted bugs that have been ground into a fine powder. Crowley said while the idea of eating a cricket may psych some people out, they likely wouldn’t even know it was used in their food if it wasn’t pointed out to them.

“The hardest part is getting people to overcome that psychological barrier of putting the bar in their mouths,” Crowley said on the company’s website. “If you can get past that, they’re pretty tasty.”

At this point, Chapul’s cricket flour can only be found in about 500 stores, but Crowley expects to see his product on the shelves of 5,000 stores before the end of the year, according to Yahoo.

The U.S. is late to the insect delicacy train — 80 percent of the world’s population already consumes edible bugs as part of a regular diet.

“There are over 64 other countries that eat insects as part of their diet,” Chapul nutritionist Lindsay Lapaugh told CBS San Francisco. “So people that have traveled around the world don’t look at it in any kind of weird way.”

The best part, Crowley believes, is the sustainability factor.

Crickets are the most environmentally friendly source of complete protein and are 10 times more efficient in covert grain and grass into edible protein than cows and pigs, Crowley said.“Since agriculture absorbs 92 percent of all fresh water consumed globally, we think change starts with what we eat,” reads Chapul’s mission statement.

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