The whole world eat insects. Even you ! Without knowing, we consume bugs, worms and their eggs. The more processed food we eat, the higher the chance is, that something sneaked into our bread, apple-tart or green smoothie. In addition when cycling, running, hiking and living the outdoors life, we all come close to nature and might swallow an eventual mosquito or fruit-fly. If these insects came from a quality source, not from a chemically sprayed wheat-field, they are actually good for us. They have very absorbable and assimilable nutrients, including not only high quality proteins and omega fats, but vitamins and minerals too. Insects take up less space, take little time to grow from egg to adult, consume only quality biomass and assimilate it very effectively with very low gas emission and environmental pollution, need little water and produce virtually no waste. Once you get over the mental-emotional barrier, they even taste good ! In Asia the insect markets are booming not just right now, but from the beginning of times !
Jimini’s (SAS Entoma) is a French company, established in 2012 expanding step by step. At this moment they have a lot of shops in Belgium, some in Holland and Luxembourg and opening towards Europe including the UK. Quality control is important for the company. Their insects come from 100% respectable European farms and get processed near Melun, around 50km south from the Eiffel tower.
Their bars have certified organic ingredients with no “natural flavouring” or secret sauce added. The 45g weight with about 200kcals of energy is ideal for cycling, running hiking. They were kind to send me some test bars and dried insects. I got the Dark-Chocolate / Figue and the Apple-Cinnamon flavoured ones.
Before you bite into them, you must ensure that you are not allergic to crustaceans, shellfish, nuts, seeds and grains, so definitely check out the list of composants. Afterwards however, you’ll have a pleasant experience. Great taste, superbe texture, fast and efficient digestion even during effort. I used them during a 140km torturous trail race from Aix-en-Provence to the Calanques of Marseille. Yes, I ate crickets, actually cricket protein bars during ultra trail racing. This is the real performance enhancement !!! Each aid stations I was looking forward to eat bar after bar. No flavour fatigue, no problems.
I ate them with joy, I digested them well and I would do it again. They have sunflower like texture and taste, with a hint of nutty flavour to it. I tried the greek grasshopper or “Le criquet – A La Grec” and the Sesame seed / Cumin Mealworms. I never tried insects before, never visited Thailand or Malaysia, but still did not have any gagging reflex or backfiring, nor negative thoughts or ptsd. They digest superbly well and I am still alive a week later. I had a 100% positive experience and I am cool with the product.
Even if I was amazed by the joy of munching on legless grasshoppers, there is always stuff that I can pick on. The first is acacia gum or gum Arabic. It is not an actual harm, but has no health benefits either. Some studies have shown some positives when used as a probiotic fibre, but to be honest, it is just a stabiliser for flavours, colourings, preservatives and the insect itself. Iodised kitchen salt: basically Natrium Chloride / Sodium. For the price of the pack, I would love to see Aztec salt or Himalayan pink salt, but at least a quality full-spectrum sea salt. Dextrose, what is just an added sugar to enhance and stabilise taste, colour and texture. In France normally GMO produce is prohibited, so despite that in the real world 99% of dextrose comes from GMO corn, you don’t have to worry about it in our case. Citric acid, hmm. You would think that it was lemon juice. Not ! Citric acid is a by-produce of the A.NIGER bacteria feeding on corn starch, molasses or liquor. Normally non GMO ! Why not use just honey and lime ? Finally natural flavouring. I explained already in a previous article, how the food industry play with this term to add preservatives, colourings, stabilisers and taste enhancers to food produce. Natural does not mean, that it is good for your health ! Benzine, talc or a cigarette are natural too !
Of course, we talk about, extremely small quantities of these completely unnecessary ingredients, but I don’t have to open a discussion here about the health risks of lifelong consumption of franken-foods.
At this moment, as shelf-life is important, I think they did their best to keep the insects comestible the longest possible and as customer demand will increase, a different approach will be used. When 3 months of expiry period is enough due to high consumption of insects the world will be a slightly better place.
I am satisfied with the products I tested out. The bars are an excellent choice for runners, adventure seekers as energy food or as a snack in general. So far they are my favorite out of the 5 brands I tested. The dried insects need some refinement, but they are on the high quality side and has a place on the apéro table.