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Protein For A Better World: Aketta Crickets

“[Experts] said the hottest thing is eating crickets,” says Indra Nooyi, the CEO of Pepsi. She continues,”I am not talking about the game cricket, I am talking about crickets! In chips.” In 2026, your go-to snack food may be bugs.

Edible insects are transitioning – they are no longer just consumed during scarcity of conventional food products but are also part of the food culture of many countries. Many western societies have been slow to join the movement, but companies like Aketta are trying to fix that. I had the chance to speak with Vincent Vitale (Business Development Manager), Abir Syed (Director of Finance), and Serena Harrington (Director of Product Development) from the Aketta team to hear about the future of edible cricket products.

Aketta raises high-quality crickets at its facility in Austin, Texas with a mission: provide protein for a better world. Their line of whole roasted crickets and powders provide health benefits similar to eating meat with much less impact on the environment. Before diving further into Aketta, let’s talk about why we should eat bugs.

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source: Aketta

Why Eat Insects?

The world is changing – we have more and more people and fewer resources. Aketta is working to help solve this problem by growing crickets as a farmed food source.

If you are new to the world of edible insects, you might be confused. Although 80% of the world eats bugs, some societies are quite repulsed by the idea. But crickets are healthy, sustainable, and taste great.

Insects are much more efficient at converting food into protein than traditional livestock. They take less space, feed, and water to raise. Instead of using these precious resources to grow food, we can use them to feed people.

According to Aketta’s website: A gram of cricket gives you more protein than a gram of beef. It’s also a complete protein, with the right balance of essential and non-essential amino acids. With Aketta, you’re getting a better source of protein with a lower carbon footprint.

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source: Aketta

Raising Edible Insects

Ok. Now we know why we should eat edible insects… but HOW? Where do they come from? How are they raised? Are they safe to eat? How are they consumed? Our friends at Aketta gave me the details.

Serena Harrington, Director of Product Development at Aketta, explained “We have a strict process that we use – we feed them USDA certified organic feed and grow them in a healthy environment.” Aketta crickets are raised in their facility in Austin, Texas. They’re processed in a gluten-free certified organic kitchen, then packaged up for sale.

You may be familiar with the less than ideal environments that livestock like cattle are raised in. This is not the case with crickets. Harrington continued, “From what I can tell, [the crickets] are quite happy. They have plenty of space in their bins. They get more than enough food and water. We have an entomology team monitoring them to make sure they grow as they should… They have cricket events where they get together and party – they’re pretty social!!” Ok… that last part might not be true, but it’s clear that cricket farming is prioritizing ethical treatment of the bugs.

“When it’s time for harvest, we freeze the crickets. They are cold-blooded, so when it gets cold we freeze them and put them to sleep. Whether crickets feel pain is debatable. To the best of our knowledge and ability, we try to make it as humane as possible,” explained Harrington

Aketta Crickets

The team behind Aketta crickets has a big task ahead of them: to educate populations about edible insects to create new markets and to build a line of new, tasty products. They aim to replace junk food items with healthy alternatives that taste even better.

While Aketta is known for its cricket powder and whole roasted crickets, they are most excited for the launch of their next generation of products. They are launching a line of flavored crickets: Spicy Hot Crickets, Texas BBQ Crickets, Sea Salt & Vinegar Crickets, Southwest Chili Crickets, and Sour Cream & Onion Crickets.

Vincent Vitale, Business Development Manager at Aketta, shared, “We’re extremely excited. You need to get the taste right – these snacks have to be right up there with some popular junk foods – chips, cookies, etc.” This is becoming more and more difficult. Our food market has changed dramatically over the years, notably through the introduction of “hyperpalatable” foods. These foods are deliberately engineered in such a way that they exceed the reward properties of traditional foods. Food chemists achieve this by loading food products with fat, sugar, salt, and other food additives so as to be irresistibly appealing. Aketta wants to provide a healthy alternative.

“The jury is still out on additives you might consider ‘addictive’ like MSG, sugar, etc… They certainly trigger “tasty” centers in our brain. When we are developing our products, we are not using MSG. It is difficult to develop a great flavor profile without using sugar, but we are experimenting with other types of sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, or stevia,” explained Harrington.

The team is dedicated to creating a snack that will appeal to the masses, and sweetness is just one fraction of the puzzle. Every detail of their product line must be considered. For instance, some companies believe that the whole crickets should not be used and that the bugs should be disguised into products like protein bars. I asked Harrington about the choice to use whole crickets.”We’ve had a lot of discussion about this,” she answered. “We decided to go with the whole cricket. De-legging is important. Removing the appendages makes the crickets a little more texturally palatable. That’s not to say that we don’t use the powder – that’s a great source of protein too and can be used in a whole different range of products.” Even the name is important: insects need new branding to stand out in the food market. “Bugs” are not considered edible in many western cultures, and there are discussions around rebranding the terms we use to discuss edible insects.

Aketta ensures that its products appeal to people with a whole range of dietary restrictions. They are going through the paleo approval process right now. Most products will be gluten free.  Even vegetarians might be able to dig in to these new snacks. Some vegetarians or vegans refuse to consider the idea, but there are those that have seen the documentaries about livestock and farming and are ethical eaters: they are just trying to avoid certain industries.

The team has come a long way. Vitale recounts, “When I started, Aketta had just unflavored whole roasted crispy crickets and powder. What we are doing now is trying to season them and get them to whole new markets. We are also working on a few new product lines like a high-protein granola.” The granola uses the Aketta protein powder, which is also undergoing some changes. The team is playing with the particle size to allow for different blending opportunities. Aketta has an on-site chef churning out tons of different recipes that can be made with the cricket powder. These range from ginger molasses cookies to pastas and breads.

The Tasty Future of Cricket Products

At the end of the day, public acceptance is everything. Vitale noted, “We are pushing our product out at many events in the coming months. We need something that will taste really good. When people get past that mental block to finally try crickets, the taste needs to wow them. We have one shot.” With their new product line of flavored edible crickets, I have full confidence in them.

Edible insects have gone through a huge transition from being famine food to a food included in daily diets. At present, insects are making their way into western cuisine slowly but surely. Some are more open to the idea than others. “So I have a 3-year-old,” Harrington said, “We set our standard for what is acceptable to eat. When I first offered some crickets to my daughter and she was like – SURE! She popped one in her mouth – no questions asked.” At the end of the day, sales of edible insects will come down to purchasing behavior and willingness.

So what’s next for Aketta? Over the next few months they will be very active at various events and expositions. They will continue to refine the taste as they get product feedback to narrow down the product to a few flavors (though this may be difficult – when I asked, they each had a different favorite cricket flavor!). “Watch out – we might make crickets take over the world!”joked Abir Syed, Director of Finance at Aketta. That wouldn’t be such a bad thing, in my humble opinion…

Head to Aketta’s website to try out their new flavors of edible crickets and support this awesome team. The future of protein is sustainable & healthy – it’s crickets!

Resources:

Use the discount code BUGIBLE for 10% off any purchases!

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