Danish origine Christine Spliid from http://gathrfoods.com is the “mother” of CroBar, the insect based energy fuel made from quality ingredients and of course crickets. She is an endurance runner, travels a lot and superbly enthusiast about healthy, unconventional food. We can definitely say she is not afraid of trying anything new. In addition she also studied Psychology and Business. These strange melange of experiences resulted in the epic entrepreneurial journey of entomophagy and the opening of her own business in 2015 November.
I really like the simplicity of her current business state. She is not branched out everywhere trying to grasp a bit of mealworms and grasshoppers, having insect chips and all kind of dried snacks in her offering. Gathrfoods provide us with only cricket products. They are focused on 3 taste of energy-bars and pure cricket-flour. She even won 1st prize in the World Food Innovation Awards in the best new food concept category.
I contacted her in order to be able to provide you with some feedback on CroBar products. I tested out the Coffee/Vanilla, Peanut and the Raspberry/Cacao flavoured health bars and used CroBar cricket flour in home made energy bars and a prot-smoothies.
CroBar in Sports
Being mostly a trail runner with a minimalist mindset, I rarely carry anything with me. Still on one of the longer outings I have done, I had the larger 40g peanut version in my backpocket. I was out on a 4am 4hour round trip just outside my front door with water and the cricket infused bar. As you know, I am a very functional person. I like not so strong, but profound taste and as I am really into raw foods, my buds are very sensitive to high sugar or high salt. I am not talking about sweetness, but sugar. Eating a Medjool date doesn’t disturb me, but when I feel the plain white sugar in bakery produce for instance, I definitely avoid them next time, as it doesn’t cope with me. In the context of this approach, I can definitely say that the bars have met all my expectations. No problems chewing, swallowing and digesting them. Easy to rip up the pack and eat it while scrambling uphill.
The bar is really simple. Peanuts, sultanas, dates, sunflower seeds and the organic cricket flour. That is it. No taste enhancers, colouring or preservatives. The 182kcals can fuel you for an hour during high effort or 4-5hours while hiking easy. Of course there are other tastes too, like raspberry/cacao or the lightly stimulant coffee/vanilla one. Their pure cricket flour / cricket protein is as good quality as their bars, however the price is very-very high. The 100g sachet is 13.99£, what would be 139£ for a kg. If you used to add 20 to 30g of protein powder to your banana smoothies, that would become a very expensive habit. Of course, as I explained in the lead up article, this is not the fault of any particular company, but the current market set up. Prices will go down soon, as more and more money will be invested into really spreading the word to increase consumer demand.
All the base nutrients are very high quality, many being certified organic including the Canadian Entomofarms supplied crickets. The bars are 91.3% raw except the nutty flavoured one due to the roasted peanuts. Each bar contain 6% cricket protein, what doesn’t seem like much. Don’t forget however, that the weight of dried crickets is greatly reduced, despite their high nutrient content. This leads to the surprisingly high 32 crickets in each bar ! There are no preservatives, sugar, oils or filling/bulking/moisturising agents in the bars, so the shelf-life is quiet reduced compared to high-end energy bars. It is only 12months, what I find very natural and completely acceptable.
In my opinion the use of cricket flour in baked products would decrease the bioavailability of the micro and macro nutrients, because of the high-heat oven time. Therefor raw snacks and smoothies would be my direct choice to get the most out of these insects. Actually the crickets are already heat treated. They are cooled down completely and got frozen, before the 110°C 2h long roasting takes place. No need to further baking actually.
‘The Banana Beat’ smoothie just got better:
- 5 very ripe “tiger” bananas
- 1tsp of cinnamon
- 6 dates (Medjool/Deglet noor)
- 30g of cricket protein
- 1big spoon of flax seeds for crunch
- 3 to 4dl of water
Cheap, tasty, accessible to anyone and very nutritious. If you were into wild-foods like me, you might green it up with stinging nettle leaves. Superfood lovers would replace the water with coconut water, the dates with stevia, use organic ceylon cinnamon, add goji berries instead of flax seed, maybe use some ground bitter melon for blood sugar control, and flavour it with organic cacao powder and moringa.
‘Save the Date’ energy balls:
Place 500g of pitted dates, a handful of almonds and 50g of cricket protein into a powerful s-blade food processor. Run it till it all becomes smooth. Moisturise your hand often with coconut oil while forming small 1.5cm balls, then massage them with coconut flakes. I often have these with me on long trail adventures and bike rides.
I find the CroBar products very appealing and high quality, but also highly appreciate their openness. The FAQ link answers all of your questions about CroBar politics and their whole approach to this entomophagy idea. The prices are still very high, for just over 2€ a bar, in case you ordered a pack of 20, but at least the international delivery is completely free.
As any nutritional reviews, the human factor is dominating. I just cannot be pacific. If it pleases my taste buds, the rating goes up, if not, well it spirals downwards. Also, something what you wouldn’t like otherwise, after long fasting when big hunger shifts in , it would become a delicacy. So take this article with a “big spoonful of cricket powder” and do your own testing before you judge.
Please have a look at their website and if it appeals to you try out their Mix Pack of 4 . You won’t regret it.