People have been eating insects for centuries. Entrepreneurs at Chirps are now helping to kick start the practice by marketing unique insect-fueled products to Americans. 

How I Found Chirps

I got to spend a few days of this month surrounded by bug enthusiasts from all around the country at the Entomological Society of America 2019 Annual Meeting. In the exhibit hall I was immediately drawn to a booth emblazoned with the phrase "Eat Bugs." This booth was getting more traffic than all the others and its visitors wore expressions mixed with disgust and fascination. 

What I Experienced 

The Chirps booth offered a range of products from chips to protein powder to baked dessert mixes. I asked a lady next to me what the deal was.

"This food is made of ground up crickets," she whispered conspiratorially.

Transfixed by the novelty and inspired by impending Christmas shopping, I bought up three bags of bug chips to give to friends and family as gifts. I also secured a promo tote bag that reads "Eat Bugs." The booth was manned by the enthusiastic co-founder and CEO Laura D' Asaro who patiently explained her products to both horrified and enthused customers. 


While I was at the Chirps booth, I was able to sample the Sriracha Cricket Chips. I must say I was pleasantly surprised; the chips tasted exactly like corn tortilla chips. The flavor was  sriracha sauce spot on and not too spicy. The chips are a bit thicker than regular corn chips which makes for a bigger crunch. I also noticed the nutty flavor you might encounter with quinoa or flax seed chips. The fact that you can't see the crickets makes the snack completely palatable; you would never know they were there. What really sold me were the nutrition facts. Cricket chips boast 20g of protein per bag, high iron and calcium content and a unique blend of prebiotics. With a comparable fat and sodium content to other corn chips and lower carbohydrate levels, I found this to be a satisfactory snack. 

About the brand

Once upon a time in 2013, three college students all went off to different countries for study abroad programs. In their respective destinations, each of the friends sampled some form of insect cuisine. It wasn't until Laura came across a United Nations report on the sustainability of insect food production that they realized the potential of their experiences. Translating this knowledge into entrepreneurial goals, the brand Chirps was born. They've broken a Guinness World Record and made a deal with Mark Cuban on Shark Tank while making these shocking snacks. 

Why you should try it 

Beyond their tastiness, their crunch, and their stacked nutrition facts, crickets are simply a more green protein source than the meat we eat now. Crickets produce 100x less Greenhouse gas than cows. They also only require 1 gallon of water and 1.7 pounds of feed to produce 1 pound of meat whereas cows require 2,000 gallons of water and 10 pounds of feed to produce the same amount. By getting your protein from products like Chirps, you can help drive a cultural shift towards sustainable entomophagy. Just like the cricket, you too can be tiny and powerful.