Local food company bets on power of crickets

Posted at 12:13 AM, Feb 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-13 01:13:33-05

It’s not your typical protein shake, this one is made out of a very unique ingredient, crickets.

“It’s not the big nasty black ones; it's the cute little brown ones,” said Julianne Kopf.

Kopf, along with Kelly Sturek and Alec Wiese are the ones behind Bugeater Foods in Lincoln Nebraska. They have been making "Jump" for about a year now.

These entrepreneurs were in college and their company started after a night of cheap tacos and wondering what was in the meat

“I kind of suggested it should be insects, because they are a good source of protein,” said Sturek.

Several months later, Bugeater foods was hatched and their cricket protein powder was for sale.

The protein shake is like any other you would see, but this one stands out with its nutrition facts. 

One packet has about 200 crickets in it, their coffee flavor you get 200 calories, 22 grams of protein, 9 grams of fiber, plus 35% of DV iron.

“If you can get past the idea of eating a bug, then they are actually very healthy,” said nutrition consultant Whitney Wright.

She said eating insects is nothing new other countries, but in the US it's starting to catch on. “More recently in the last few years it has been turned into a health food craze.”

Wright said cricket products are higher in protein than chicken or beef.

“It's very high nutrient density so it has a lot of vitamins, minerals, as well as being high in a natural source of protein.”

The Bugeater trio is also venturing into making more than just protein shakes, they are also making cricket rice.

“It looks and it taste exactly like rice and it has more protein, more iron and omega threes than normal rice,” said Sturek.

The group says when they tell people about their cricket product, they get different reactions

“There are three ways they can react, they are like yes this is awesome let's try it, or they are like no I’m not trying this, or they are kind of like on the edge and we talk to them about why you should be eating bugs,” said Kopf.

At prairie life gym KMTV asked people about the cricket concoction.

Most of the people had no idea what cricket protein powder was, but all of them said they would give it a try. 

“Definitely would try it,” said Jack Hooley.

“Ya I would totally try something like that,” said Jennifer Binder.

Binder liked that Bugeater foods was trying something different, “I think people would think it is crazy, but to be successful with something like that you would have to be a bit crazy, I think it's awesome, that makes me want to try it even more.”

The cricket powder is not only a healthy option, it is has a better impact on the environment.

Bugeater gets their bugs from a cricket farm that has a smaller environmental footprint.

“They use significantly less water, food, and land to make much more protein,” said Sturek.

The group hopes to keep growing the company and eventually add more types on insects into their Bugeater options.

For more information on Bugeater Foods you can click here.