Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Taste Test: the Exo Bar

Exo bar, front of wrapper
Exo bar, ingredients information
Some time ago, I blogged about an entrepreneur in Europe who is marketing food bars made from cricket flour--cricket parts ground up into powder.   In the course of writing it, I learned about some similar American products, including the Exo Bar.  Recently, I learned that our local supermarket, Wegmans, sells Exo bars, so I decided to buy one and try it out.  I purchased their "Cocoa Nut" (i.e., chocolate with nuts) flavor.

The Exo bar is expensive--$2.99 for just one bar at my local Wegmans, compared to between 99 cents and $1.69 or so for most other brands of food-replacement bar.  According to the wrapper, one bar contains 300 calories--less than some of the food-replacement bars such as the Meal Square, but significantly more per individual bar than Luna or Balance bars or most of the other meal replacement bars that I've seen on sale here in the U.S.

Unwrapped, the bar looked like other brownie-type food bars I've seen.  It was the color of a dark chocolate brownie, contained bits of nuts, and had a shiny surface.

Exo bar, unwrapped
Eating the bar was an interesting experience.  It did not take a lot of effort to eat, but it felt "substantial" to chew, which was not unpleasant.  Unfortunately, the taste was nothing to write home about.  The Exo bar didn't taste excessively sweet, which is a plus.  But it didn't taste very brownie-like or chocolatey, either--a definite minus in a "cocoa" bar.  The strongest flavor note I picked up was a kind of winey undertaste, which I didn't find very appealing.   Never having eaten a cricket flour bar before, I'm not sure whether the winey taste was due to the use of cricket flour, or a side effect of some other element/s of the ingredient mix. I was reminded of one of the title character's taglines from the movie Crocodile Dundee:  "Tastes like sh*t, but you can live on it."

So I don't expect to be buying or eating a large number of Exo bars any time soon.  I haven't ruled out other cricket-based foods, however.  It's possible that other formulations will lead to better taste, and a food bar with 10g of protein from sustainable ingredients is hard to argue against.

NOTE:  You can click on each photograph to make them larger and clearer.

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