An energy bar which contains crickets? Yes, it’s true! Although they haven’t traditionally been a staple in the UK, in various parts of Asia they’re a hot commodity and there are many valid reasons why. Farmed crickets are fed on vegetables and grains then baked and ground to make a fine ‘flour’ that is 60% protein and contains many essential micronutrients. The health and environmental benefits on offer will surprise you – this is why they’ve been included among the ingredients of the new YUMPA energy bar.
Tony Askins, CEO and his team from Next Step Foods based in Sheffield came up with the idea after reading about insect based snacks in the US and after discovering that insects are the most sustainable form of animal protein, he began to research further and stumbled across a United Nations report on ‘edible insects’ which opened his eyes to the exceptional properties that crickets possess and how they can actually enhance health.
From this point onwards, Tony and his team which consists of: Naomi “The Chef”, Mark “The Baker” and Jo “The Strategist” decided to put their intelligent heads together and formulate a plan that would successfully introduce ‘cricket bars’ into the UK -something that would not only make for a sustaining snack but also taste delicious. We carefully tried these bars, read on for our full review!
Tangy Thai (Zingy lime, coconut and ginger) – Cashew nuts, dates, organic unsulphured apricots, almonds, cricket flour (7%), coconut (6%), linseeds, organic sunflower seeds, ginger (4%), chicory fibre, lime oil
Cocoa a-go-go (Warming cocoa, orange and cardamom) – Dates, almonds, cashew nuts, organic cranberries (cranberries, apple juice, sunflower oil), cricket flour (7%), linseeds, organic sunflower seeds, organic unsulphured apricots, cocoa powder (4%), cocoa butter (4%), cocoa nibs (4%), chicory fibre, cardamon, orange oil, vanilla extract
(Allergen info: Those allergic to crustaceans may also be allergic to crickets.)
Nutrition: A 45g bar packs in 200 calories, from purely natural ingredients such as fruits and essential fats that our bodies will use for energy, satisfy our hunger pangs and help absorb particular vitamins and minerals, helping activate bodily functions more efficiently. The dried fruit is also custom-processed to achieve just the right bite – texture being so important to how filling a food is.
Each bar, contains roughly 13g of fat but of which only 3g is saturated; the final 10g is from cashew nuts, sunflower oil and a variety of seeds making this bar a heart healthy option for a quick sweet treat.
Carbohydrates come in at 14-15g per bar which is relatively low unlike supposedly healthy cereal bars packed with processed sugar (that does not do your body or energy levels any good) and double the carbs! Here, the natural carbohydrates are from dates, apricot and cricket flour. YES you read that correctly, cricket flour!
Each bar contains 5g of fibre; which is 1/6 of our daily RDA (30g). Fibre of course is an effective weapon against a slow, sluggish digestive system and cholesterol build up, keeping hunger pangs at bay, which in turn assists weight loss.
One Yumpa bar also provides 7g of protein with 7% cricket flour, containing all 9 amino acids which are the building blocks of protein in addition to the slow releasing carbohydrates for sustained energy throughout the day.
Crickets contain as much vitamin B12 as salmon, three times as much iron as spinach and more magnesium and zinc than beef, something which did surprise me. For the environment, they have a very minimal ‘footprint’ producing just 1% of the greenhouse gases that cattle do, thirteen times less water and finally per kilo, 470g is edible, which is more than double that of chicken, which is the second best option.
Once I unwrapped this compact bar, my first intention was to embrace the smell and I am glad that I did as I was greeted with a citrus-type aroma. I personally appreciate this combination of flavours as I am huge fan of coconut and ginger especially. I felt that this would be an excellent choice for dessert after a spicy meal as it is very refreshing; all I require now are the Muay Thai training camps and sun-kissed beaches and I’d be a happy chap! As for the texture, as I took my first bite, it was matched with a firm, slightly crunchy yet soft experience which was quite pleasant, the coconut did make itself known but didn’t dominate the palate by any means; the overall consistency was good.
As the name suggests, this bar contains ‘warm cocoa, orange and cardamom’ so you can only imagine how it might taste and it did exceed my expectations. Once I placed this bar towards the end of my nose, a warm drift of orange seemed to gently travel up through my nasal passages and challenge me to find out more. When I did bite into it, I thought it may have been similar to the texture of the ‘Tangy Thai’ bar but it felt slightly softer which made it easy for me to demolish. However, I took my time and instead, enjoyed the flavours. I could definitely tell that I would soon be in love with the cocoa and my predictions were correct because before I realised it, it had vanished -I was already thinking about my next bar, oh how greedy I am! One of the other things that impressed me was the cardamom; personally I so not consume much of it myself but felt that this little bar increased the warmth of my tongue but not overpoweringly so.
Value: With these 45g bars there is a good balance of macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats and proteins) in the correct ratios which allows the steady flow of nutrients for the mind and body whilst also containing adequate amounts of fibre, protein and healthy fat; all of which will help you feel satisfied in the appetite department.
In a standard box, there are 9 bars and there is an offer of a variety box if you prefer; then you get the best of both worlds for just £19.99. If you’d like to try out something different for the energy, health benefits, vitamins, minerals, nutrients, less saturated fat and sugar, digestibility and quality, these bars are well worth a go-go!
Summary: I am often in a rush with busy commutes throughout the sprawling city that is London. As I get home close to midnight, after a decent training session in the evening, often the last thing I want to do is prepare an extra snack. YUMPA bars fill a need here and offer a great alternative that hits that spot as they are natural, unique, easily accessible, tasty and come equipped with cricket flour power inside!
Next Step foods also take an environmental stand as their wrappers are compostable -the first in Europe. Find out more about the eye-opening benefits of crickets and order by visiting Yumpa’s main site, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages!