Interested in a protein bar that tastes great, travels well and has the goal to help diversify our food supply? Got a food sensitivity? How about we make them gluten/grain/soy/dairy free? What if I said you could get these tasty bars in cacao nut, peanut butter and jelly, and cashew ginger flavors? Sound good? Well let me introduce you to the crafty fellas of Exo bars!
Gabi Lewis and Greg Sewitz had a unique idea, and used one of my favorite mediums, Kickstarter, to fund their protein bar startup. They’ve been getting serious attention from great big forums like The New York Times, Forbes, Business Insider, and even the uber trendy TechCrunch (I finally know what that is thanks to HBO’s “Silicone Valley”). What’s the big deal you might say? Why do they need a Kickstarter fund for protein bars? Why all the buzz (pun intended) you say? Why are you still talking? The flavors sound good, I’m into protein bars, let’s do this thing…
Well what if I told you these bars aren’t made from something you’d expect like beef or turkey, oats, or even soy, but have a complete amino acid profile? What if I told you there is hope that they are a part of a new sustainable food system? Alright, so what’s the catch? These tasty little bars are made with a flour base you may not be familiar with…..CRICKET FLOUR!
Now before you turn your nose up or start to gag, let me just say that when I met Gabi and Greg at PaleoFX I was just as skeptical as everyone else. But what I admired about them is that they told me how frustrated they were that everyone has been talking about getting into the bug market, but nobody is really acting on it, so they decided to put their money where their mouth is, and I LOVE that attitude! As Steve Jobs said, “the people crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” Before I took my first bite I wasn’t sure what to expect. What I tasted was delightful! If you didn’t know you were eating a powdered cricket you’d swear it was just a simple almond flour base. There’s no weird taste or crunch, just a nice smooth flavor profile. In fact, eventually they intend to offer the cricket meal as a separate product, so it makes sense that they take great care in the fine texture of the flour.
Ok, let’s talk about their great flavors:
- Cacao Nut contains almonds, dates, coconut, honey, cricket flour, cacao nibs, cacao powder, ground flaxseeds, vanilla extract and sea salt. (My favorite!)
- Cashew Ginger contains cashews, dates, almonds, cricket flour, ground flaxseeds, apricots, coconut, honey, pistachios, vanilla extract, ginger powder, sea salt and spices
- Peanut butter and Jelly contains peanuts, strawberries, apricots, cricket flour, gluten-free oats, ground flaxseeds, puffed brown rice, honey, vanilla extract and sea salt. This one REALLY tasted just like a PB&J! But watch out for this one if you’re avoiding legumes, oats or rice products.
FYI for anyone with a shellfish allergy, crickets may not be for you. Crickets often produce the same allergic symptoms so if you are allergic to shellfish, there’s a good chance you are also allergic to crickets. Go get yourself a grass-fed steak and call it a day.
Right now the bars are a bit limited in protein due to production availability of the jumpy little buggers. Each bar has the equivalent of 40 crickets according to the site’s FAQ. While this sounds like a lot, it comes down to a small amount the total mass of each bar. I understand right now the supply of crickets is pretty low (not a ton of cricket farms out there) so the cost of processed crickets is a bit prohibitive for making a bar with massive amounts of protein we can actually afford to eat. Curse you supply and demand!!! Exo is working to increase production to get more cricket protein in the bars while keeping the price manageable.
The bars are also a bit higher in sugar than I usually prefer for an everyday snack (I’d use these more for a post-workout refuel) with between 13-18 grams of sugar per bar, but I understand the perception and palate hurdles Exo is working to get over (having people eat a bar with crickets in it and not spit it out is a huge win!) What I truly appreciate is that even with a little bit of added sweetener, they didn’t garbage them up with a bazzilion ingredients. They did their best to deliver a simple product with whole ingredients AND great texture and taste. I think they did a bang up job and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next!
Now to the best part! Exo wants YOU to try these revolutionary new bars. One lucky random reader will receive an entire BOX of Cacao Nut bars. Who wants some tasty free stuff?!?!
TO ENTER: Leave us a comment below on the flavor you’d most like to try.
We’re giving you LOTS of chances to win. TO COUNT AS AN ADDITIONAL ENTRY, PLEASE LEAVE ADDITIONAL COMMENTS BELOW FOR EACH ACTION YOU COMPLETE. We want you to get credit people, don’t miss out on extra chances to win these tasty snacks! This means if you want all 8 possible entries, I’ll see EIGHT COMMENTS from you below. If ya try to cram them all into one comment, you’re only getting 1 entry, don’t sell yourself short! If you’ve already followed us, just let us know in the comment and that’ll count too
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Open to U.S. residents only. Giveaway closes Friday, June 6, 2014 at 4pm (CST). Good luck everyone! The giveaway is now closed. Congrats to our winner, Sarah!
**This is a totally unbiased and unsolicited review. I received no request to make this review, no free products and no fee or commission of any kind. See HERE for my policy on advertising.