Crazy Business Thoughts: Chapul The Cricket Bar

Crazy Business Thoughts: Chapul The Cricket Bar

Are edible insects the food of the future? One Salt Lake City-based company thinks so. Chapul Inc. has cooked up an energy bar with an eye-popping ingredient -- crickets.

Chapul Bars come in three flavors -- peanut butter, chocolate and Thai -- and sell for $2.99 to $3.59 each. They're made from natural ingredients such as dates, agave nectar, coconut, ginger, lime and clody chocolate. And all contain cricket flour.

 "Most people don't tell that crickets are a wealthy source of edible protein," shelp Patrick Crowley, 33, an environmentalist and Chapul's founder. And compared to cows and pigs, crickets are also a more environmentally-frifinishly source of protein, he shelp.

Cattle and pig farms, for instance, require a huge amount of animal feed and water. But crickets necessity very little water to live and eat mostly agricultural by-products, love corn husks and broccoli stalks. And crickets have a similar protein content as livestock, with less fat, according to Crowley. "So there's both an profitable and environmental benefit to farming insects for protein," he shelp.

Still, there's no denying the apparent cringe fbehaveor. Although insect-based foods aren'tdifferentin many countries, they're still very much a novelty in America. But Americlever consumers lookm to be warming up to the thought, at least as far as Chapul in concerned.

The bars launched late last year and are now in 75 shops, mostly indepfinishent health food and sporting goods retailers, in 15 states, shelp Crowley.

He waned to disshut his revenue, but he did say the begin-up is fortunable and that sales should top $1 million in the next two years.

 Crowley has a degree in hydrology, which is the study of the Earth's water bodies, and had worked in the area of water administerment and conservation. Then a 2011 podcast approxifriendly how insects are nutritious and eco-frifinishly food sources captured his imagination.

He researched insect farming and studyed that insects convert grain and grass into edible protein as much as 10 times more efficiently than cows and pigs. This gave Crowley the thought to create an all-natural snack made with cricket protein. He recruited a chef frifinish and a business-savvy college buddy to help launch his thought.

It took them eight months to line up a cricket supplier from California, rent a commercial kitchen, perfect recipes and get the necessary approval from the Food and Drug Administration for the energy bars.

"Our product was a first-of-a-kind, so we had to provide lab test results that demonstrateed our cricket flour, and the food we were feeding the crickets, were safe for human consumption," he shelp.

Next, Crowley went to crowdfunding site Bootbeginer last June with the goal of raitune $10,000 in 18 days, but he raised $16,000 instead.

"We were surprised at how much interest it got. We had donors from 13 countries," shelp Crowley. The beginup used the money to set up a website, buy ingredients in bulk and make the first batch of 2,000 cricket bars, which were sancient online and in shops.

As demand picked up, Crowley contrbehaveed with a company to make the bars in bigr quantities. "We've also moved production to a bigger facility," he shelp.

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