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Harvard Grads Bring Insect Eating To Western World With Cricket Chips

BOSTON (CBS) --- Three recent Harvard grads are trying to change the phrase "Bon Appetite" to "Bug Appetite" by introducing a new chip made out of crickets.

"We're introducing insects to the western diet as a more sustainable form of protein," Laura D'Asaro said.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's New England Business Editor Anthony Silva reports




D'Asaro, along with Rose Wang and Meryl Natow are the brains behind new company "Six Foods." Their first product "Chirp Chips," are made with cricket flour.

D'Asaro tells WBZ NewsRadio 1030's New England Business Editor Anthony Silva that the idea came to them as they studied other cultures. D'Asaro majored in African Studies, Wang had been on insect-eating adventures in China and Natow is interested in creating new ways to live.

D'Asaro said the idea led to the group buying boxes of crickets to experiment with in their dorm room.

The group realized they may be on to something when they created 50 tacos out of ground cricket meat for a pitch competition at Harvard Innovation Lab.

Watch: The story behind Chirp Chips

"We put them in the refrigerator and didn't mark them or anything," she said. "When we went back to get them, only five tacos were left."

Noting it's never an issue of taste, D'Asaro admits the million dollar question is how do you get people over the stigma of eating bugs.

"As soon as the tacos were before the judges who knew what it was made with, there was more resistance," she said. "So it was more experimentation to come up with a way people would be more willing to eat."

That's when they turned to Cricket flour; it's a nutty take on run-of-the-mill all-purpose flour and is great for baked goods and snacks, the group claims.

"Crickets are up to 70-percent protein and four can have as much calcium as a glass of milk," D'Asaro said toting the health benefits of what she calls a "superfood."

The flour is used along with beans and rice to create a gluten-free, all natural chip with 3-times as much protein as a potato chip and half the fat. They hope to soon expand to other snack foods.

To get the company off the ground, Six Foods started a campaign on Kickstarter. In just three days, the group's goal of $30,000 was realized and that total is still on the rise.

"We weren't sure what to expect being a company selling chips made with crickets," D'Asaro said. "Cricket protein is an incredibly natural protein source and I think people are realizing the health benefits. Hopefully it's an indication that America is more willing to eat insects than expected."



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