There are many different raw fruit bars on the market these days, and while they’re all delicious, they don’t really offer anything new from one another, except perhaps the range of flavours. And while protein has been getting its foot in the door on these fruit bars, they’re pretty much all provided through soya – a plant-based protein which isn’t used as efficiently in the body as animal-based protein. Why? Because we are not plants; the proteins don’t have the same structure.
And, while this might seem like a random little side-thought, it is relevant. I’ve been reading an irritating amount about ‘flexitarian’, which is really just a band-wagon term for ‘I eat like a normal person’. I was talking to Seeg about this last month, and I remember specifically saying “show me an ‘insectarian‘ and I’ll be impressed”.
Gathr produce crobars, fruit bars in the usual flavours – raspberry & cacao, coffee & vanilla, plain cacao, and plain peanut – and they have a protein hit, too. But they’re bringing something different to the table (and this is where my anecdote becomes relevant): cricket flour.
Cricket flour is what it sounds like. It’s dried and ground-up crickets. Now, this might sound disgusting to western cultures – when would we ever voluntarily eat insects? – but they actually make up a good portion of the diet of many different people because it is abundant, a brilliant source of vitamins and animal protein, very easily farmed and ultimately sustainable. It also has a vaguely nutty flavour – and I’ve heard tarantulas taste a bit like crab.
Cricket flour is a good alternative to both soya and whey protein in fruit bars. Soya protein is plant-based, which means it has a different molecular structure and so our bodies have to alter it before it can use it, and that loses a bit of it in the process, meaning ’10g of soy protein’ is not actually 10g of protein. Whey is better because it’s sourced from milk during cheese production (it’s the liquid left over after milk has been curdled and strained) which makes it an animal-product and is biologically designed to be consumed and put to use by animals, making it molecularly more wholesome than plant-based protein.
Crickets might not seem quite the same as a cow or an egg, but even insects provide better protein than animal-products (foodstuffs created by animals rather than from animals). In a 100 calorie serving of cricket flour there is 15g of protein and 4g of fat, compared to 11g protein and 8g of fat in beef. They also contain all 9 amino acids, 3 times more iron, 5 times more magnesium and 2 times more zinc than beef, and high levels of vitamin B12 which can’t be obtained through plants. Cricket flour’s high macro and micronutrient content is due to the fact that the whole animal is eaten, which also means less waste.
As for the bars themselves, I admit I was hesitant to take the first bite, but I was curious enough to go for it and I’m glad I did. There was a vaguely nuttier taste to the bar than there is to other brands, but it was subtle. I don’t know if I noticed it more on the first bar – raspberry & cacao – or if I was just looking for it, but the second bar – coffee & vanilla – I barely noticed it because I didn’t think about it.
They have the same pleasant texture as any other fruit bar, but they provide about 1.5g more protein, 5g less carbs, and 3g more healthy fats than other equivalent fruit bars. Fibre is the only thing that doesn’t vary. The flavours are also more interesting than other bars. And while the packaging might not be relevant to the goodness of the bars themselves, it’s worth pointing out how pretty the designs are.
I would definitely recommend them to anyone looking for an easy yet quite unusual way to add a little more variety to their diet. At 130 calories for a 30g bar and 190 for a 40g bar, it can easily be incorporated into calorie-restricted diets, with 13g they can be consumed on low-carb diets, and with almost 5g of protein it’s great for those of us looking to up our protein intake – and you can rest assured that you’re getting what you want from it more than you would from soya protein snacks.
Gathr also provide cricket flour as-is, which you can use in baking, drinks and general consumption. It’s not difficult to use – if I’m honest, after having tried these bars, I’m tempted to buy some flour, too, just to see what I can do with it.
Try something very different today and pick up some Crobars for 20% off with the code CSC20EN. Pick up a sample box or take the leap (hehehe) and buy a full box – I highly recommend the raspberry & cacao flavour!