Starting from now, each week, I am going to test out 1 insect based nutritional brand. Today, let me introduce you the UK based EATGRUB ! The idea came up to two friends in 2013 when they promised themselves and a kickstarter campaign a quiet fast delivery plan and voila, in 2016 they were already going quiet well. Market analysing and production planning, demystifying logistical problems, working around laws and legislations, organising meetings with the right people at the right time is the kind of background work that I often pursue. I can assure you, that creating something from your own idea, without significant sums and support, starting from zero, is not that evident, but definitely not easy. Road-bumps are very frequent and a world beating recipe is not enough ! Texture, tasting, preserving, transport, storing, avoiding money leaching and bleaching, packaging, lost shipments towards you or your customers, contracting with postal services, outsourcing or having your own production facilities, assurance and so much more can come across during your business journey. Their 3 years long, zero to selling progress is not bad at all !
On their website, you are able to purchase anywhere from the world: insect cookbooks, edible, flavoured and unflavoured insects like buffalo- and meal-worms, grasshoppers and crickets, but in this short article we will be focusing on their cricket protein energy bars. I prefer calling them nutritional bars or mini-meals, because the “energy bar” stigma is nowadays associated with maltodextrin loaded, processed, additive filled, fiberless sugar-sticks.
They come in two flavours, coconut-cacao and cranberry-orange. They can be purchased in bulk of 12 for 19.99GBP what comes back to 1.66 for 1 bar, what would be the average price of any regular energy bar too. I haven’t found any info on bar processing, but they feel, look and taste raw. This means more absorbed nutrients and more bioavailability. Of course, crickets are processed on 70 to 120°C heat, to dry and sterilize them, but as we don’t eat raw meat either, this is completely fine.
I find the bars very appealing, delicious and tasty. They passed the texture, look and taste test. I don’t have personally problems with a small amount of moisture management by vegetable glycerine or the 0.3% of natural orange flavouring, if they came from a reliable source. However, I really highly recommend to EatGrub to be 100% open, as at this moment we cannot find anything about the source of their ingredients. To the current very conscious health, sport and business community this is a crucial information. This might be one reason that some “concurrents” in the entomophagy market are getting ahead, as they are giving out all information on their website about each single component and the most importantly the quality and source of their crickets of course. I even found one enterprise not mentioning on their packaging that their crickets are certified organically fed, however their insect supply company treats and feed their insects exclusively that way. This will be rectified as they are missing out on a crucial “purchase determining” factor. 3 out of 10 enterprises even go in to the details of their wrappers, using completely biodegradable paper and paint and giving out instructions on how to recycle them in your own compost.
EatGrub for sports
To really test out any nutritional products, I feel the need of an empty stomach. I tested the bars on a long day of mountain bike / run as exclusive nutrition, but also as a single pre-race breakfast. In the first instance, I was out for 10hours on a cold windy day, putting out some serious effort riding my cyclocross bike in 10cm deep mud for most of the day, then tagging 10 peaks trail running, finishing off 100km total distance with 3000m of elevation gain. I also recently ran my first half marathon – I mean of course I already ran longer or faster, but I have no road half reference – so I finished with a quiet okay time of 1:16:43 finishing 21st out of 1300. My only breakfast was an EatGrub Choco-Coco bar with a big bowl of light coffee, 4 hours before the race.
I have never ever had any intestinal issues as the bars digest very well and my stomach handled them easily even when running fast downhill with a high impact on technical terrain. No fibres or anything stayed in-between my teeth, especially no cricket legs 😀 They are easy to chew, easy to swallow even in the absence of saliva. The packaging is easy to rip up with cold and wet hands, no problems.
I am not a qualified chef, although I cook and create many dishes very well – said by friends and my wife -, including often my own raw or raw/cooked energy bars. I judge by functionality. I even got my wife and a couple of friend taste the bars and the return was 100% positive. Truly in my health and outdoor oriented community, I don’t know any regular “western dieters”, but more likely fruit, vegetable and fish/meat based athletes. This might create some bias, as when your taste buds are not masked by regular high sugar and processed food load, you feel flavours and texture way differently. As an exemple, If I let my running mates taste an 80% no-sugar dark chocolate, they would say awesome. On the other hand regular people would need 25 to 60% sugar to make it comestible.
Questions I would ask about EatGrub bars:
- Do they taste good ? Yes
- Easy to chew, easy to swallow ? Yes
- Do they feel good and digest well ? Yes
- Do they give you energy with no spikes but sustained release ? Yes
- Would I use them during training or high performance sports events ? Already did and it worked !
- Does the price range placed well ? Absolutely Yes
- Does it have quality ingredients ? Yes it does – just the source need to be open
- Would I buy it, consume it on a daily basis and recommend it to a friend ? Yes
This is a very solid score and I think, that if they can stay on top of their game at http://www.EatGrub.co.uk , they can be a leading brand in the insect based health and sports market ! Keep up the good work guys and thank you for your Test Bars !!!