For openminded bodybuilders who want to get ripped, there’s a new type of protein powder out ready for you to chug it down on the way to your morning CrossFit shred sesh.
Today Chirps, the San Francisco-based company which makes insect chips in flavors like Sriracha and BBQ, launched a Kickstarter for its newest product: Cricket Protein Powder. The powder has 20 grams of protein per serving and is made of peas, brown rice, chia seeds, and, oh yeah, insects.
Typically, protein powder is made either with soy, which can lead to deforestation, or whey, which can have, um, undesired gastrointestinal outputs. Crickets are also one of the more sustainable protein sources out there: it takes one gallon of water to produce one pound of crickets, but it takes roughly 300 gallons to grow one pound of soybeans, and over 1,000 gallons to make one pound of whey (because cows).
It should be noted, briefly, that not all proteins are created equal. Both cricket and whey are complete proteins, meaning they contain all 9 essential animo acids, but whey stands out because it absorbs super quickly into the body to stimulate post-workout muscle growth. I couldn’t find any solid information about cricket absorption rates online, so muscle-heads, take that as you will.
The one-pound tubs of protein powder, which come in chocolate or vanilla, are priced at $39 for one, $65 for two, and $78 for three (share one with a friend!). There’s no information on what the retail price of the powder will be. Until Dec. 16th backers can take advantage of the “Holiday Special,” which basically means you get a free cricket cookbook and a guarantee that your order will arrive in time for “Crickmas.”
In fact, Chirps promises to have the first ~3,000 units delivered before December 25th, with the rest shipping in February 2019. Yes, that’s three weeks away — but I’m optimistic they can pull it off. The company already managed one successful Kickstarter campaign in 2014 to launch their cricket chips, in which they reached their $30,000 goal in three days.
Judging from some sleuthing on the Updates page, however, they did seem to have struggled with a 9-month shipping delay. But that was four years ago. Since then Chirps seems to have fixed any production snags; the chips are available in dozens of shops around the U.S. and on Amazon.
Chirps isn’t the only company working to bring insects to the mainstream: Seek Food also launched a crowdfunding campaign for their cricket-based baking flour, fried grasshoppers are a fan favorite at Seattle’s Safeco field, and even celebrities have hopped (heh) on the edible insect bandwagon. Crik Nutrition also makes a cricket-based protein powder, though theirs is quite a bit pricier.
If their goal is to make insect-eating the norm, it makes sense for Chirps to target the health food market. Crickets are a great source of protein, iron, and B12, and when they’re pulverized into a powder or an energy bar a lot of the “ick” factor goes away.
Hopefully Chirps and others can help de-stigmatize bug-eating in the U.S. — and help you shred your quads along the way.