They arrived in two shoebox-sized containers. And they were very, very loud. We wanted to find out if we could make a food product using insects that actually tasted good. Armed with Google research, a vague recipe for cricket flour, an oven, and a blender, it was time to walk the walk…
Gabi had created a basic protein bar recipe while on his own quest to make a snack both healthy and delicious, prompted by his frustration at the nutrition-taste tradeoff marring everything commercially available. The idea to add insects came when Greg, one of Gabi’s five college roommates, attended a conference at MIT on the breakdown of global systems that sparked a conversation about insects’ tremendous environmental benefits relative to other food sources. He intuitively understood that only by combining insects with something more familiar—protein bars, for example—could people here be convinced to eat them.
After the rather noisy order arrived, we got busy with our Vitamix and oven to make cricket flour—losing only a few escape artists in the process. We nailed a recipe pretty quickly; it had respectable nutritionals and tasted damn good. Eager for some unbiased feedback, we took samples to a local CrossFit gym. When one of the trainers yelled to the rest of the class that the bars were
“not good—they [were] f**king great,” we knew we had something special: a product with tremendous social value that people actually wanted.
We graduated in May ‘13 and immediately moved to New York City, determined to make that product a reality. Growing awareness of the advantages of insect food sources—like a 200-page United Nations Report detailing the environmental, social and nutritional benefits—legitimized the idea with the popular media.
We teamed up with a rock star chef who used to head up research and development at The Fat Duck Restaurant, considered one of the best and most progressive restaurants in the world. To prove that there was indeed a market for insect-based foods, we launched a Kickstarter in late July; within 72 hours, we had reached our $20,000 goal. By the end of the month, we had raised almost $55,000 from over 1,000 individuals who believed in our vision.
And so here we are. After countless double-takes and I just don’t think you can do its, we’re doing it. Gabi turned down a job at a hedge fund. Greg deferred grad school. All because we believe that insect protein has an awesome role to play in the future of our food. Now we just have to convince everyone else.
— Greg and Gabi
Four Bar Sampler Pack Review:
This is the last leg of my protein products journey for my husband, you can check out my other reviews for About Time and Fuel For Fire by clicking on their names in this sentence (lol). We’ve tried the pancakes from About Time and snacked on the on the go pouches from Fuel For Fire but for Exo Protein bars this is something totally different. I mean all three of these companies product amazing products but each company is so different in their own right. When I say different I mean it, Exo uses insects as an ingredient in their proteins bars. Yes, even now that I have tried it I still feel like saying “ewww” because well it’s a bug! I don’t mind getting muddy, getting sweaty or dirty in general but throw a bug my way and I will scream, well like a girl (haha) so I can never imagine eating them. At first when I learned of that fact I was a little reserved but my curiosity like normal helped me proceed to finding out more and trying these protein bars. Even though the products I have gotten are for my husband while he gets back on track with the gym and eating right for himself and his career I of course had to have a bite or two for review purposes. Okay, maybe like 1 or 2 bars I ate half but I still shared with the man even if I didn’t want too (lol).
I didn’t tell him what was in the bars from Exo all I said was “Hunny theres protein bars in the fridge” and yes I put them in the fridge because the package was in the hot Florida sun for a bit. I left them in there for a couple hours to get cold but took them out, by time my husband got to have one before his work out he asked if I could stick the others back in the fridge and he also was confused because I had said they were in the refrigerator (haha). We both prefer the bars to be chilled, they taste more refreshing I guess you could say. In the Four Bar Sample Pack you will get Cacao Nut, PB&J, Blueberry Vanilla and Apple Cinnamon. The first bar to be eaten was the Apple Cinnamon, my husband I didn’t get to try it but he said it was really good. As he was eating it he was reading the package and goes “Crickets? There’s crickets in this??” so I reply with a simple yup with a smile. He then goes on to say that it’s pretty good for having bugs in the mix and he would’ve thought it would taste bad. Now, even though he thought Apple Cinnamon tasted good I was still reserved about taking a bite of one of the other bars. I mean he thought some MRE’s were really good, you know the ones from the military (lol) so now you can understand while I was still iffy about trying it. Regardless I journeyed on and did, I tried the Cacao Nut and oh my goodness it was amazing. It was that flavor and PB&J that I ate half the bars of, both were my favorites. The Blueberry Vanilla was good too but I still have my favorites.
These protein bars from Exo are amazing and you will never even know there are crickets in there. My husband loved every one of them and would happily eat them again without sharing. This is definitely a company to check out and keep your eye on. They are doing big things and I feel with continue to explore with their ingredients. Simply put this is a great, creative company who have an amazing vision and products. You can’t go wrong with Exo protein bars!