Are crickets the protein of the future? This Topeka start-up thinks so

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- A group of Washburn University students are working to make a big impact on world hunger with a cricket-based protein powder.

Junior Andrew Foreman is the CEO of Agrotech Enterprises, a company he started with five friends.

“Crickets are considered the gateway bug,” he said.

Foreman hopes to be more than a fly on the wall in the edible insect market.

“A lot of different market analysts are estimating that it's going to quadruple in America within six years,” Foreman said.

Their company took first place in Washburn's Entrepreneurial Pitch competition for a protein powder made from ground crickets.

“When you ground it down to a powder and you bake it into things, you no longer see the bugs and you can't taste the bugs because they tend to do a really good job of absorbing the flavor of what they're baked with,” Foreman said.

You might be thinking who would ingest bugs willingly. Well, about 80 percent of the world and there are health benefits.

“Crickets contain comparable omega-3s to fish, they're very high in fiber which you don't have in other protein sources,” said Foreman. “They're loaded with other nutrients and other vitamins like vitamin B-12.”

He says it contains twice as much protein per gram as beef and could be the protein of the future.

The fact that we are going to need to change some of the ways that we get those protein nutrients is pretty apparent. Foreman says their goal is to lower the cost and eventually, get change the palate of America.

"Once they're comfortable with crickets, we think they'll be comfortable with other insects, too,” Foreman said.

If all goes as planned, they could have their first sample by January.