While most 21 year olds spend their Friday nights sipping drinks at local bars or going to parties, I spend mine making homemade nut butter. Thus you can only imagine my delight meeting Greg Sewitz and Gabi Lewis who are pioneering the next generation of healthy protein bars with their New York startup Exo Protein.
I immediately identified with the bars and their ingredients as we make many of the same types at home. Almonds, check. Cacao, check. Honey, check. Crickets – 911! NO CHECK.
Yes, crickets, you read it right. The crickets have a nutty flavor and are hardly identifiable in the bars; And with Exo serving up flavors like Blueberry Vanilla, Cacao Nut, and PB & J, they’re even Mario Batali approved.
Before I scare you away I’ll start out with the health benefits of consuming crickets that Gabi and Greg shared:
- High in protein with essential amino acids.
- Low in saturated fats and sugar.
- Rich in micro nutrients like iron (crickets have more than beef), calcium (higher levels than milk), and B vitamins.
In addition, crickets are 20x more efficient to raise than cattle, requiring little space, less feed and producing 80% fewer methane emissions.
For Gabi and Greg, each person who incorporates cricket protein into their diet is making the world a more sustainable place and they’re using buttons that read “I just ate crickets!” and “Crickets are delicious!” to spread the message.
Although they recognize the challenge ahead, the founders are targeting early adopters (think Cross fitters and Paleo fanatics) to gain social capital and inspire a movement.
What’s most exciting about Exo is the startup’s potential to be the leader in the next generation of food resources (Think of disruptive startups like Uber and AirBnb ), which is a testament to their lead investor, Tim Ferriss’, who claims that an opportunity to invest in a company like Exo comes along every few decades.
I certainly agree with Tim and envision Gabi and Greg on 30 under 30 amidst a variety of cricket based health foods that will make Exo a household name.