By the time the Paleosphere started twittering about eating insects and mealworms, I was already a few years into my Paleo-eating life and so was fairly unfazed by yet another weird and wonderful wonder food. Having said that, I don’t think I have the courage to try the whole insect. I suppose it’s because I’m not really sure how to – eat them straight as a snack? Grind them up and add to smoothies? Cover them with chocolate? But then there’s also the fact that when you’re eating a dried mealworm it looks, well, like a dried mealworm.
So a protein little critters bar like Zoic is the best I can manage at the moment. The idea behind consuming insects is that they’re fairly high in protein and fairly economical to farm, and a whole lot better for the environment. The company has a very informative page on their sexy website explaining Why Insects and the statistics are impressive. Unlike eating meat, you consume the whole insect rather than wasting a large proportion of meat. Rearing insects produces a small amount of greenhouse gases, has a good feed conversion rate and uses far less water and land than rearing animals.
What about the bars themselves – are they any good? I wasn’t really expecting much, not because I didn’t think they’d be tasty but more because they’re a fruit and nut based bar, which I find often tend to be overly sweet from the dates, meaning I consume way more sugar than normal. But actually these were not that sweet. I guess it’s because you’re substituting a part of the dates with the mealworms. Incidentally, for those who don’t know (I didn’t!) mealworms are the larvae of a beetle and yes, they are the things you would normally buy for pet fish and birds or for fishing. Unlike some other insect bars I’ve tasted, these don’t have a vaguely insect-y after-flavour; they just taste like a cocoa-y, fruity, nutty bar. The ingredients are sound – dates, cashews, cacao, mealworm flour (8%) and coconut flour.
Nutritionally, they have around 7g of protein, just over 200 calories, just under 10g fat and 21.6g carbs (9g sugar) per bar, so it is fairly high in protein but also pretty high in carbs – if you’re watching your sugar or carb intake, this would not be the best snack for you; for anyone else it would be best kept for a post workout snack. It would certainly be easier to digest than a piece of jerky or an egg immediately post workout, which would provide a similar amount or protein.
They have a pretty high price point – £10.90 for 4 bars (£2.70 each), although the more you buy online, the cheaper they get. Still, it’d be hard for them to compete with other fruit and nut-type bars – although these have less protein, they tend to be almost half the price. I understand why, of course – sourcing high quality ingredients like this for a small scale production line is inevitably going to be expensive. I appreciate that. But like many other Paleo-friendly snacks, these will not be something I eat regularly. Nonetheless, if I do happen upon a shop with them in, and I’m hungry and have little prospect of getting home soon, I would definitely consider choosing them!
Many thanks to Zoic Bar for sending me the bars to taste. I was not obliged to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.