My short bio: Crobar by Gathr is an award-winning natural energy bar, containing cricket flour, as well as nuts, seeds and fruit. Crobar is gluten- and dairy free, free from added sugar. Farming crickets is much better for the environment than farming cattle, and we believe it is a future, sustainable protein source for people in the Western world.

Last questions at 9.30 pm UK time, I'm finishing off my Friday night watching Snowpiercer.

www.gathrfoods.com

My Proof: https://twitter.com/GathrFoods

Comments: 1332 • Responses: 103  • Date: 

ScaramouchScaramouch416 karma

Does it bug you that these won't fly off the shelves?

chrisspliid182 karma

Haha, actually they're flying off the shelves pretty well, we're selling in over 30 stores here

AFK42377 karma

So, here's my problem with cricket flour, maybe you can assuage my fears.

I've had a Bearded Dragon as a pet in the past, and part of having a Bearded Dragon is maintaining a cricket colony for feeding. My time at maintaining a cricket colony has taught me that crickets are some of the most disgusting and messy creatures on the planet. The sheer volume of excrement in a cricket colony is enough to drive one to drink.

So while the thought of eating crickets ground up into flour is something I think I would try, the level of disgusting grossness a cricket colony contains just puts me off of ever trying one. That is all I would be able to think of while eating anything made of cricket powder.

So, my questions is this, what percentage of cricket flour is cricket shit? Because I'm guessing it's pretty high.

hkdharmon159 karma

The sheer volume of excrement in a cricket colony is enough to drive one to drink.

Have you ever been around cows or chickens?

AFK42113 karma

I get it. There is much more excrement from these animals. And I (obviously) do not disagree.

But my main point was the level of excrement these creatures will be covered in at the time of processing. When you are preparing a cow or a chicken for consumption, the entire animal does not get ground up in the process. The goal is (usually) to remove just the edible parts (i.e. the muscle) from the inedible parts (i.e. the digestive system, or other innards).

Plus, the cricket colony is usually contained within one's house when you're using them to feel a reptile. Cows and chickens usually have their own accommodations outside the home.

hkdharmon27 karma

I assume the are washed pre-grinding.

chrisspliid74 karma

Correct, they are washed.

AFK4226 karma

That's funny. I'd assume they'd say "fuck it", who's going to know.

polehard14 karma

Well, washed or not, how to they extract the shit that's still digesting inside the cricket?

chrisspliid72 karma

They starve the crickets for a day before they are frozen.

chrisspliid95 karma

I don't know what kind of crazy crickets you have been farming, but that is not what I have seen at the farms I have visited. I have no number for you unfortunately.

clintVirus163 karma

I have no number for you unfortunately.

what I'm getting here is that the number isn't zero

Falkjaer148 karma

I mean, it's unlikely that the percentage of bug shit in any processed food is zero.

chrisspliid113 karma

The crickets are put on a diet before they are killed.

chrisspliid67 karma

The poop is washed away, don't worry.

gazeless-stare209 karma

One thing I'm amazed no one has asked yet - what does it taste like? Does the cricket flour give it any particular flavour?

chrisspliid265 karma

It really depends a lot on what you feed the crickets, but they taste a bit like roasted hazelnuts or buckwheat.

kimota68251 karma

You know, I suspect that roasting insects, pulverizing them, and then mixing that powder with other stuff that I know I like is probably the single most effective way to get me to try insect protein. So, thanks for giving me a not completely disgusting option!

chrisspliid98 karma

Haha, I appreciate your open- mindedness :-)

gazeless-stare119 karma

That sounds disturbingly tasty.

chrisspliid76 karma

You are so right!

DownvoteFarming16 karma

depends a lot on what you feed the crickets

so... what're the available flavours your people have discovered so far? best and worst?

chrisspliid24 karma

It's a trade secret of the farm, a bit like Coca cola :-)

Solorn121 karma

I've had one of these bars, it came in a 'foodie' box I have delivered once a month. Yes, I was dubious, but it was actually very nice. It just tasted like a nutty trail bar. Unfortunately the price is a bit high for me to eat them on a regular basis but the taste is pleasant.

chrisspliid112 karma

Thanks, I appreciate the feedback, hopefully with time the price can come down :-)

Nicolaiii4 karma

How much more cost-effective is cattle farming? Or with economies of scale, could we see insect-based farming becoming cheaper than livestock?

chrisspliid15 karma

We need more research, but as a rube of thumb, they use 10 times less water and land than cattle and emit a whopping 80 x less greenhouse gases

Grimpler8 karma

Its not got to taste amazing its healthy, and will taste like bird seed mixed with dried fruit. What you have to ask yourself is will you pay £2/$3 for one

Frisky_Frogs9 karma

Fuck no... I'm not even sure what the price of a box of crickets is locally but I could grind that shit up myself for cheaper I'd imagine.

I'm not overly caring about gluten free or organic either so that price point is far beyond what I'd pay.

chrisspliid24 karma

Haha, fair enough, I'll get in touch with you later down the line when we make cheap, processed ready meals with insects :-)

cyu12175 karma

Hello, American food safety specialist here. What regulatory hurdles did you have to pass? How is a cricket grown for human consumption differentiated than crickets for pet food?

How long has this been in the works?

Really do have a million questions as I am also a food entrepreneur. Hoping to launch within the next month.

All in all it sounds very cool! Great work.

chrisspliid181 karma

Here in UK/ EU, insects in food has long been a grey area, but finally the European Commission is starting to include it in the laws, so all of us will have to apply for Novel Foods in a couple of years.

A cricket for human consumption is farmed under strict HACCP procedures, obviously no pesticides, hormones, and an all organic diet.

We launched in November 2015

cyu1251 karma

That's interesting HACCP is incorporated into the farming of the crickets. Also interesting that this particular interpretation of HACCP seems to be geared towards organic standards.

I assumed a GAP program would be sufficient and then of course whatever organic audit is used in the UK.

In another post you did mention a November 2015 launch, but I was more so asking about the time spent before the launch. It seems like a big challenge to do all the market research and prepare the numerous recipes you have on the website. Very impressive.

Was the recipe research done in house? What's your favorite recipe?

chrisspliid53 karma

I launched on a small scale in April 2015 with Kickstarter money, and then improved recipes and branding over summer ready for the November launch. I had the idea in January 2015. I love cooking myself, so most of the recipes are my own. My favourite is probably the falafels and pancakes :p

cablecore3 karma

do you really come out ahead, jumping over all those hurdles, rather than just eating the food that would have gone to the crickets?

chrisspliid6 karma

Yes, animal based protein has health benefits which we don't get from plant based protein

asmj141 karma

Does it help that cricket is so popular in UK?

chrisspliid193 karma

Yes it helps with the jokes at dinnerparties.

simdam105 karma

Are they raised in little cages or can they roam free in a field?

SeeShark130 karma

There's a small problem you might not be anticipating in growing tiny flying creatures in an open field.

chrisspliid41 karma

Wise words indeed.

chrisspliid107 karma

They like it dark, hot an humid, so live in cages that are hot, dark and humid.

zuccs198 karma

I'll only support free range crickets I'm afraid.

chrisspliid150 karma

They would be VERY expensive to catch, good luck.

ferchomax159 karma

(that's British for how about you do it yourself then asshat)

chrisspliid91 karma

Haha, thanks for the translation.

chrisspliid39 karma

Haha, thanks for the translation.

chrisspliid36 karma

Haha, thanks for the translation.

chrisspliid36 karma

Haha, thanks for the translation.

chrisspliid33 karma

Haha, thanks for the translation.

chrisspliid30 karma

Haha, thanks for the translation.

chrisspliid28 karma

None

chrisspliid26 karma

Haha, thanks for the translation.

chrisspliid20 karma

Haha, thanks for the translation.

Thekdawggg90 karma

Any plans to make a cheaper version with like cockroaches or something?

I want a tasty cricket bar as much as any other person but £2 a bar is a lot.

chrisspliid97 karma

Haha, if the cockroaches had to be farmed to the same high standard, they wouldn't be cheaper than crickets. The price will come down with time :-)

tepaa42 karma

What's required for the price to come down? Larger volume order from the current farm? Enough demand to start a new farm in the UK?

chrisspliid66 karma

Yes, larger scale of production. Yes I would say so, several companies are starting out now.

bigjoebobbrigs25 karma

I'd like to see a bar made from spiders.

chrisspliid92 karma

Spiders aren't insects, so why don't you launch it, you would have a unique selling point?

Borax146 karma

(This is british for "hell no")

chrisspliid61 karma

Haha very true.

balanced_view83 karma

Can you tell us anything about the supply chain? Where are the crickets bred, how are they fed, etc?

chrisspliid114 karma

Sure, we're getting the best quality cricket flour possible, and the only farm that guarantees organic and gluten-free certified cricket flour, is Entomofarms in Canada. The crickets are fed an organic diet of fruit and vegetables.

dnickb53 karma

Serious question: What else would you feed a cricket? Or any bug really?

chrisspliid97 karma

Well, in some countries they feed the crickets fish, and they will taste like fish themselves then :-)

dnickb67 karma

You know, I've never seriously considered the diet of a cricket... wouldn't have even thought to feed them fish.

Of course, I wouldn't feed myself crickets, however, I do think it's neat and could be a good food source for people that aren't me.

chrisspliid97 karma

I'll turn you around eventually ;-)

ReCursing15 karma

They're farmed in Canada and then shipped to the UK? Isn't that a bit... wasteful? Expensive? Doesn't it push the carbon footprint up a lot? What would it take to set up a similar farm in the UK? And if I did so and had appropriate standards and certifications would you buy from me? (n.b. I don't have the funds to actually do this so ignore that last question... probably)

chrisspliid24 karma

You're right it's not ideal, but we are prioritising the best quality cricket flour we can find. There are currently no cricket farms operating in UK yet, but several about to start.

stereotrype14 karma

First of all fair play! Really exciting stuff. There is also ongoing research a the moment on using insects as feed for livestock - which I'm sure you know about.

In respect to feeding the crickets how economical is it? How much fruit is required to bring a cricket to appropriate maturity. Is this the reason for the currently high retail price?

Does the fruit have to be of a certain freshness or can it be past the quality where it would be acceptable to sell on a retail level?

chrisspliid17 karma

Yes exactly, the insects in feed theme is also super interesting. The feed conversion is significantly higher in crickets, they lifespan is also only 5-8 weeks, compare that to bigger mammals! The reason for the high price atm is just small scale of production. Crickets could live off compost, which is an added benefit :-)

balanced_view14 karma

Awesome! Glad to hear you're not cheaping out on the insects. I look forward to trying your product.

chrisspliid17 karma

Absolutely, great to hear :-)

nezamestnany12 karma

Why does it being gluten free matter that much?

frymaster66 karma

well if you're going to make a flour substitute, making it GF is really good for:

  • People with celiac disease
  • People who have a gluten intolerance
  • People who have a trendy gluten-free diet.

The first two groups are important morally, and the last group is very large, therefore profitable :D

chrisspliid36 karma

You hit the nail on the head

chrisspliid2 karma

It's a massively growing market, many people are gluten-free or intolerant

PM-ME-YOUR-POEM79 karma

Are you worried that it may just be a fad and a try it once sort of thing? Also how do you change the consumers initial stigma around eating insects?

chrisspliid133 karma

Not really, given there is so much push from UN, governments and thought leaders all over the world to start including insects in the food chain. We believe that by making the crickets into flour, it is easier for people to take the first bite, as they don't see the whole animal, this has proven correct so far.

Sleazay90 karma

I can't help but keep thinking of the scene from SnowPiercer

chrisspliid42 karma

I know, it's an awesome movie!

CaptGatoroo8 karma

any future plans for a cockroach flavor?

chrisspliid25 karma

Yes can I partner up with you?

13esq71 karma

What is cricket flour? How is it grown made and prepared?

chrisspliid109 karma

Literally roasted, ground up whole crickets, who have been farmed under controlled and safe conditions.

jakerino44 karma

Mmmm, sounds tasty

chrisspliid47 karma

I know, right??

OFFICER_RAPE18 karma

Where can I buy your tasty cricket bars?

chrisspliid34 karma

JaZoray34 karma

is that http 500 indicative of all of reddit wanting to buy your product or is something wrong with your server?

chrisspliid26 karma

No bloody clue, I'm trying to get it up and running.

182username34 karma

how do you slaughter crickets?

dcux68 karma

Very small knives.

chrisspliid30 karma

Needles.

chrisspliid57 karma

You freeze them so they hibernate like lobsters.

moxyll22 karma

Wait, so they're not dead when you grind them up? Can they wake up when they're in my belly?

chrisspliid33 karma

They freeze to sleep, and then to death.

massive_cock33 karma

How long have you been doing this? What are your thoughts on the likelihood of insect-based protein uptake in western markets? I'm very interested in bug food for environmental, ethical, and economic reasons.

chrisspliid55 karma

We launched in November, since then there are a few other brands about to launch, and we just won the 1st prize in the World Food Innovation Awards for best new food concept last week, so there are clearly some influential people believing this will take off.

massive_cock12 karma

That's awesome. Sounds like you're off to a great start! I'm looking at your website now for details. Pricing is a bit steep but I know it's unavoidable due to startup costs, and will improve as production scales. Best of luck to you and I'll be checking back to see whether I can get some in the US from time to time!

chrisspliid14 karma

Thank you so much, and you are right in what you're saying :-)

gnomlandia29 karma

How does the cricket flour work in baking products?

A lot of successful gluten free baking requires mixing flours or using different flours for different types of foods (e.g., I wouldn't use millet flour in most cake recipes, but I would use it for for quick bread). Is there a type of existing gluten free flour that cricket flour most resembles? Are there any known cautions around using it baking (like with coconut flour you have to watch your liquid ratio as it likes to absorb a lot of liquid)?

Good luck with the business!

chrisspliid31 karma

Good question, and I learn new things every day. Basically, the cricket flour is dried meat powder, so yes it acts differently than other flours. It is quite dry, a bit like coconut flour, so definitely more moisture is needed. That's why is advise starting by replacing 10% of conventional or almond flour only, and a bit more liquid. Thank you :-)

SeeShark16 karma

Could the flour, being dried meat powder, be used for stock?

chrisspliid13 karma

Yes!

kraggers26 karma

Why should a non gluten free person choose your bar?

How many references to Snowpiercer do you hear per day?

chrisspliid32 karma

Because the other health benefits like protein, iron, vitamin B12, not to mention the environmental benefits are very convincing.

On average, 138.

Toxicity20 karma

What made you decide to launch an energy bar? Aside from the cricket flour it seems the market is pretty saturated. Any idea's on launching other products?

chrisspliid31 karma

The natural energy bar market is pretty saturated, you're right, but it is an great first introduction for people to try cricket flour, as it's healthy but still sweet. We will launch other cricket flour products later like crisps and crackers.

dontaxmebro17 karma

how many crickets do you have to kill to make one bar?

chrisspliid30 karma

32.

Throwingbeyondlife15 karma

How do you separate the crickets from their waste excretions? How finely ground are the crickets?

chrisspliid20 karma

Shaking them well and cleaning them in water. Very finely, finer than normal flour.

Renfah8714 karma

Were you on Shark Tank? I remember seeing an episode where a guy was pitching protein bars made with cricket flour.

chrisspliid5 karma

That was Chapul

menomenaa12 karma

Wasn't Chapul on Shark Tank a while ago? And they're sold in the UK.

What's the difference between you and them?

chrisspliid11 karma

Yes they were, I loved that episode. Chapul bars taste great, they use exotic flavours like chili and matcha, Crobar are simpler in flavours.

truuth300511 karma

Honestly, this is brilliant. What demographic does your product most appeal to? Which type of person is more likely to buy your product?

chrisspliid13 karma

It's pretty much 50/50 men and women, people who are mostly interested in health, a bit of fitness, as Crobar is a great snack for before or after exercise. More and more people are also aware of the sustainability benefits to crickets compared to traditional livestock.

diegosep9910 karma

Why is cricket flour better than normal one?

chrisspliid29 karma

Cricket flour is high in protein, iron and Vitamin B12 to name a few, it is also gluten-free.

dashmesh16 karma

Do you have any comparable stats e.g how much higher protein, iron and b12, contents are in say 1 scoop of cricket powder versus say, your usual whey protein

chrisspliid21 karma

We are working on that, the cricket flour is being optimized all the time, currently it actually has 78% protein which is a lot higher than the 68% a few months ago. I'll keep you posted :-)

topatomopato10 karma

Do you have a website that isn't twitter?

FAcup29 karma

Web dev here, please get rid of those leaves behind the text on the homepage, it makes some of the text difficult to read.

chrisspliid16 karma

I might do that, thanks for the feedback :-)

patrick_king9 karma

Hi! I've bred crickets long time ago (for experimental purposes) and always wanted to do this. I knew in a rural school in here they were doing cricket flour and cookies, but I couldn't get a sample. I live in a small South Americacountry. Anyways, here are my questions: 1- which cricket species are used? 2- was it a big investment? What's your expected ROI?? 3- Why did you choose to invest on this??

Good luck! :)

chrisspliid24 karma

  1. Gryllodes sigillatus
  2. No, I raised 10,000 GBP on Kickstarter to fund the initial batch
  3. Because I genuinely believe insects in food will become mainstream one day, and I'm willing to take the chance :-)

jong1238 karma

You've aimed this at the health food market. But do you have any plans to create a bar for the breakfast bar market? In the UK we love a Nutrigrain, a Chewy or one of the various other cereal bars going.

I wouldn't buy something high in protein because I already get enough protein in my diet through the meals I eat, however I do something run out of time in the morning and grabbing a cereal bar is always welcome.

chrisspliid6 karma

Crobar isn't as high in protein as whey bars or other high protein bars, you can see the nutritional profile here, it would make a great mid- morning snack: http://gathrfoods.com/products/sample/

Cats_Like_Felix6 karma

Hello! I helped run a stall for the Royal Society of Biology at a science festival last year and we were trying to encourage members of the public to try crickets which had various seasoning added. Very positive response, generally. Entomophagy is a big thing in some parts of the world afterall!

I was hoping to ask if you had plans to sell the cricket flour on its own? Right now I can only seem to source some online, where prices are around £20 for 250g. This is a very expensive purchase for a biology student, do you think it's just a question of growing the market to reduce prices? Are you planning on selling cricket flour yourself in the future? Would rearing crickets in the UK reduce price significantly? Any plans to do that in the future?

p.s. I thought they tasted like sunflower seeds!

chrisspliid9 karma

Why don't you email me on [email protected] and we can talk?

dashmesh5 karma

You indirectly mention a lot of research regarding how vegans prefer to eat cricket flour and how most people are willing to try it ,etc. What is your basis for this research and can you link me the study/stats?

chrisspliid13 karma

Correction, I said that most objections come from vegans. Many vegetarians are willing to try, I'd say more than 50%. This is based on my experience at trade and consumer shows, as well as samplings in stores. I don't have any scientific data backing this up unfortunately.

frenchness4 karma

What's the nutrition facts? It seems like you'd have a way to reduce carbs significantly not using flour, cereals or rice, yet, from your description, I expect another overly sweet dry-fruit munch with over 15g of net carbs per bar. Am I right or wrong?

chrisspliid5 karma

There are relatively many carbs in the bar from dried fruits. This is an intro food product for people to familiarise themselves with cricket flour, later we might make higher protein, lower carb bars.

PETApitaS2 karma

Do you guys plan on importing to Canada?

chrisspliid3 karma

That's a bit too much travelling for the crickets :-)

doctorish1 karma

What other bugs do you eat and where do you get them from?

I really wanted to get more into entomophagy but haven't found many great sources in the UK. Kudos for your endeavor btw, we should be eating more insects, high in protein, low in fat and much better for the environment than the normal meat production.

chrisspliid1 karma

Personally I love mealworms, you can get them from Eatgrub. You are so right, I couldn't agree more, if we eat prawns, why can't we eat insects?

ANTIVAX_JUGGALETTE1 karma

Do you have any advice to help people get over being squeamish about consuming bugs?

chrisspliid10 karma

Don't you already eat prawns and shrimps? They're basically a cousin to the cricket.

And did you know that the food standard agencies of all Western countries allow quite high amounts of insect fragments in processed foods already, as it is impossible to avoid? So you have been eating insects all along.

bananomgd2 karma

Down here in Portugal, we eat snails in Summer. It's considered a delicacy too. So the jump to crickets seems relatively easy. I'll try your bars.

PS: Low-carb ones would be lovely as well, when you have the funding for them. ;)

chrisspliid2 karma

Exactly, snails are lovely with a bit of garlic :p The site is working again: www.gathrfoods.com :-)

TheTiredMonkey1 karma

Im assuming that there is some regulation regarding informing the public on the ingredients, which could help of hinder your sales.

Are there any which dictate the use of insects, especially in the EU and US?

chrisspliid2 karma

We are legally allowed to sell insects in food in UK and EU, but some countries in Europe have made it illegal.

Saskura1 karma

Interesting so

  • What is your plan to get the consumers past the "iky" mentality people have to bug.

  • What was your reason for going into the business? (idealist, money, or?)

  • From what i have heard we have to go to bugs at some point. I have also heard that fishfarmin could be the future. what do you think and why ?

  • finally how does the taste comepared to non buggy bars?

chrisspliid4 karma

Well, as explained before, most people are willing to taste cricket flour in a food product, as compared to whole crickets, the main objections are coming from vegans who wouldn't touch any meat.

A mix of idealist, health food interest and loving exciting challenges!

I have no opinions of fish farming.

You can't really taste the addition of the cricket flour, as they taste nutty, similar to the other ingredients which are cashews, dates, sunflower seeds etc.

Chris602921 karma

Where can I acquire a sample of this bug-filled bar?

chrisspliid2 karma

lilswidb1 karma

Does this bar taste like, well, crickets?

chrisspliid4 karma

The crickets have been fed a very high quality, organic diet, so the taste is a bit like roasted nuts, hence it goes well with the other ingredients

Cadllmn1 karma

Can you use the flour as a straight up replacement for flour in other recipes, or does the flour have unique textural or flavour profiles that mean you can't just straight up make Mom's homemade chocolate chip cookies with cricket flour?

chrisspliid2 karma

Good question, you can't just replace it with regular flour. A good tip is to replace it with about 10% of normal flour. The texture and flavour is different :-)

Myoriginaldidntwork1 karma

What is the tastiest bug besides crickets?

chrisspliid1 karma

I really love mealworms, silkworms are also nice.

BlackAndArtsy1 karma

How often do you eat cricket bars?

Are they sweet or savory?

chrisspliid2 karma

Cricket bars a few times a week as I am currently working on future flavours of Crobar. They are sweet, but not too sweet, there is no added sugar.