- Earlier this week, Exo announced it has secured $4 million in series A venture funding to expand its cricket flour products from protein bars to ready-to-eat shakes and protein powders. Investors include the rapper Nas, the Collaborative Fund, and AccelFoods. AccelFoods manages a $20 million fund to support startups in expansion mode.
- Exo wants to further appeal to the CrossFitters and paleo diet consumers who comprise their core market, as well as people who avoid eating meat, according to Bloomberg.
- The company uses nut butters as a base and binder as opposed to brown rice syrups that are typically used in energy bars. Flavors are savory and sweet, such as mango curry and barbecue. Half the protein in each bar, 10 or 11 grams, comes from crickets, and there are 40 crickets in every bar.
Chef Kyle Connaughton’s mission is to create tasty food so that U.S. consumers will want to not only try products with crickets, but keep coming back. According to some research, 80% of the world eats insects.
In fact, insects are a regular part of the diet for more than 2 billion people around the world, according to a 2013 report from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of The United Nations.
According to Exo’s owners, citing United Nations’ studies, compared to raising beef, poultry and other animal proteins, cricket farming uses less water per gallon of water or pound of feed, and produces more protein. Exo’s crickets are raised on organic grains and filtered water at farms in the United States and Canada.
Kara Nielsen, independent food trendologist, told Food Dive that cricket flour and other insect flours, such as worm meal, supplement and add fortification to products including chips, cookies and snack bars. "I think the large manufacturers can make all of this palatable," she says. "This is all long term, but it is something we have to do."