retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

The San Jose Mercury News reports that crickets are the hottest new snack in trendy Silicon Valley, supplanting items such as kale and quinoa that used to be the trendy choices.

According to the story, "Proponents say the tiny, chirping bugs are high in protein and iron and can serve as a sustainable alternative to beef or chicken. It's a movement that has people buzzing, with companies such as San Francisco-based Bitty Foods baking the bugs into cookies and chips, Tiny Farms in San Leandro breeding crickets for mass consumption, and New York-based Exo using them in protein bars. The products are showing up in Silicon Valley break rooms, and investors and entrepreneurs are paying close attention."

Indeed, the Mercury News writes, "Companies like Exo and Bitty are part of a larger trend of food startups that are replacing meat, gluten and dairy in everyday products." Investors have put hundreds of millions of dollars into such businesses, which means that there will be a lot of effort put into mainstreaming such items so that the investors make back their money.

While insects have been regularly consumed by people in places like Mexico and Thailand, the story notes that a report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations recently "touted the nutritional benefits of insects and introduced them as a potential solution to a rapidly approaching problem -- the world will house 9 billion people by 2050, forcing humans to nearly double their food production using a limited supply of land and water. Crickets need 12 times less feed than cattle and half as much as chickens to produce the same amount of protein. They require less water and space to farm, produce minimal amounts of greenhouse gases and can be fed organic waste, according to the report."

My first reaction when reading this story was that this doesn't exactly sound like my kind of food. But then I thought to myself ... they can't be any worse than Brussels sprouts.

So maybe I'll try them. Maybe the experience will be an Eye-Opener.
KC's View: