Insect Protein Bars Make Fla. Debut At Tallahassee Food Co-Op

Jan 28, 2013

Chapul bars for sale at New Leaf Market
Credit Jessica Palombo / WFSU-FM

In the United States, most people aren’t used to the idea of eating insects. But one protein bar company is hoping to change that, one cricket at a time. And a Tallahassee food co-op is the first supermarket in Florida to sell the bug-filled bars.

The founders of the new energy bar company Chapul know they’re fighting an uphill battle.

Company spokesman John Beers said, “We produce energy bars using a flour made from ground-up crickets.”

Beers said, they know that, for most Americans, the idea of eating bugs is still as foreign as it was to Simba in the iconic scene from Disney’s “The Lion King” when he meets Timon and Pumba for the first time.

“Tastes just like chicken,” Timon reassured him.

Beers said, “You need to have a little bit of boldness to say, ‘Yeah, we’ll try this. We’ll give it a shot.”

He said, stores in California, Massachusetts, and New York are selling Chapul bars. And, as of two weeks ago, New Leaf Market on Apalachee Parkway became the first one in Florida.

New Leaf’s Cristin Burns said, before she got the Chapul samples, she’d already read about how producing insect protein is much less of a drain on the environment than other kinds of meat.

“Cattle and pork require so much water and feed, and insects are just here for the taking and require very little resources,” she said.

While shopping at New Leaf, Tallahassee resident Bill Burke said he wouldn’t eat a cricket bar, but he had another idea of what to do with it.

“I’d use them to fish,” he said.

His wife, Mandy, sampled a Thai Chapul bar, which has flavors of coconut, ginger and lime.

“I’m not afraid. I mean, other people around the world eat it,” she said. “That’s good! Sweet, tasty…doesn’t taste like a cricket!”

The Chapul guys are hoping more shoppers will try them and find out they like them too.

And New Leaf Market is offering the chance to sample Chapul Cricket Bars, for free, on Tuesday, Jan. 29, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.