I know that the eBook I published late in 2015 about crickets and insect protein has been the most popular title of mine. I see the sales figures regularly and can tell roughly that on Amazon it has continued to sell very well. What I couldn’t tell you is how many copies have been downloaded nor if this year is up or down from 2016. So I looked at the numbers.
Normally at the end of a year I’ll take stock of some of my content, but I never really worry too much about the stats because I am only comparing my sales figures to myself. It’s sort of the way I used to look at my times when I was a runner. I was only competing against myself so I had no real idea if my best time was really all that fast other than one of my own best times.
The eBook sales figures are the same to me. Well, earlier today I actually drew up charts and calculated the sales figures for 2017. I was not surprised to note that my “Foodie Guide to Farming Insects for Protein” was still my top seller. What I did not expect was how many issues were sold and how that measured up to total sales of my other five published titles.
My ‘cricket eBook’ out sold all of my other eBooks by a ratio of just over 2:1. I thought possibly it was closer than that since one of my other titles started to pick up steam this year. Then I decided to take a look at what the numbers were for 2016 and then compare that to this year. Once again, the ‘cricket eBook’ outperformed all of my other titles and by a greater margin.
In 2016 “The Foodie Guide to Farming Insects for Protein” outsold my other eBooks at a rate of 5:1. Looking at the numbers from 2016 to 2017, the total number of eBook sales jumped by almost double. The stats alone for the ‘cricket eBook’ saw an increase of 65-percent in sales. Regardless of the figures, the actual earnings are a completely different story altogether.
The way it works at Amazon is that they get a fairly good sized chunk of the action as a commission. They earn from each and every copy of an eBook that is purchased and downloaded. The percentage I receive fluctuates between 35 and 70-percent depending on the title and market it is being purchased in. It is far from a full-time wage but can be not bad.
As the eBooks are not my primary source of income I am not too concerned about the commission rates. That’s partly because as far as I’m concerned, having access to the largest online book selling platform at no charge other than a commission on sales, is a pretty fair deal. However, I will probably still add one or two more titles to my library in 2018.
I saw an online poll the other day that got me thinking. It asked vegetarians whether or not they would eat insect protein. I considered that a pretty interesting question. While I am not a vegetarian, I know what it is to be one and even have a strict vegan or two in my circle of acquaintances. The question to them would produce pretty much the same single word answer: No!
But the whole concept is what has me more intrigued than anything else. I know the argument from vegans/vegetarians is a good one. In general terms, if you view a cricket as an animal, and you have chosen to not eat anything animal-related in your diet, then clearly you would not dine on edible insects. I would not even attempt to sway that position one way or the other.
However, when that insect protein, and we’ll use crickets as our example, is in the form of flour, does that change things at all? For those who are still new to insect protein one form you can get it is in flour. Crickets are ground up and mixed into flour at either a 20-percent or 30-percent ratio of crickets to flour. The flour is then used for various food items.
I can see where some vegans and vegetarians may take a slightly different look at insect protein when it is in the flour form. Those who have chosen to stop eating animal products simply because of environmental or possible sustainability concerns may want to look at crickets a little closer. Crickets use 10-percent of the water required to produce the same weight of beef.
Crickets also require 1/16 of the feed required for the same amount of beef (pound for pound). On top of that, crickets do not produce methane as cattle do and they have a diet that is not exclusively the same one that humans use. With that being said, why is there no huge vegan/vegetarian groups supporting the move to insect protein?
That’s because the non-meat eaters are getting all the protein and nutrients they require through a plant-based diet. So really, there is no pressing need to explore options as long as plants continue to grow and produce the requirements of the vegan/vegetarian community. While I expected the argument to be far more controversial, I do see the logic from both sides.
I have no problem with eating cricket flour or products made with cricket flour (cricket pasta and cricket protein bars). But I am not a vegan/vegetarian, either. If you would like to know more about insect protein, check out the eBook I wrote on the topic titled, “The Foodie Guide To Farming Insects For Protein.” Download your copy today for details.
In the time that I have been studying edible insects as an alternative protein source, I have encountered a number of myths. Some of them are half-truths, others are based on misinformation and there are others that are just plain silly. In this article I am going to look at a few of the myths I have come across and will attempt to debunk them.
1 – Spiders Are Considered Insects
This is an easy one to confuse. Spiders, and even scorpions, are Arachnids, not insects. Arachnids are creepy, crawly creatures that have eight legs. Insects only have six legs plus two antennas. However, here’s probably where the confusion comes from. Spiders sometimes use the front pair of their legs in a way that makes them appear to look like antennas. Then, they will walk on their remaining six legs like an ant does. This trick spiders often use when they invade an ant colony. Plus, spiders can secrete an odour that closely resembles the smell of an ant.
2 – Insects Have No Value
They tend to be pests to most of us but did you know insects serve a number of important purposes in our lives? I’m not talking about them just being edible insects, either. Insects pollinate flowers, help fertilize soil and recycle plant life. If we did not have bees there would be no honey and flowers, plants and so many other forms of vegetation would not grow and produce foods for us and animals without pollination. Bees are not the only ones doing all the hard work, either. Several other varieties of winged insects spread pollen just by hopping from plant to plant searching for food.
3 – You Can’t Eat Insects
Well, if you have spent any time on this website you know that edible insects are a real thing. That’s because bugs are tasty. In fact, insects have been a dietary food source for centuries and are staples in some cultures today. Over 2.5-billion people on the planet have insects in their daily meal plans and there are no less than 1,900 different edible insect species sharing the planet with the rest of us mammals. Also, insects are high in protein and are simple to prepare as a dish. Crickets, for example, are also popular in protein bars and mixed in flour for pasta and baking.
Bug Myths Are Just That…Myths
There is no doubt that the thought of eating something that flies or has antennas or is hairy with several pairs of legs is not for everyone. For myself, I’m fond of cricket powder products (pasta and protein bars) and see that as a good way to consume edible insects and avoiding the ick factor. But before you venture into dining on bugs, do your homework and ignore the myths that exist on the subject. They have little in the way of facts to back them up. For more information on insect protein check out my eBook “The Foodie Guide To Farming Insects For Protein.”
I write about a lot of things in my freelance work. Oddly enough, the only time I wrote anything extensive regarding insect protein was when I published my eBook on the subject. That’s not to say it’s a topic that no one wants to explore. I think it’s still a topic that is slightly ahead of its time. As a result I have a few ideas as to why I think insect protein is such an interesting alternative food source.
1 – Its Easy To Produce
I think one of the things I have not forgotten about this alternative protein source is that it is extremely easy to produce. Once you get that hang of a cricket farm – as an example – you can have an ongoing supply of them. All you basically require is the right conditions and the crickets will pretty much take care of all the hard work.
2 – Its A Space Saver
You could have an extremely well producing cricket farm in two large plastic tubs and have them stored in the space of a normal-sized apartment closet. Seriously, the amount of room required to have a producing cricket farm is minor in comparison to any other kind of business start up that requires some square footage to function.
3 – Its A Fun Way To Learn Some Science
Even if you have no plans on consuming the crop of crickets your farm can produce, there is a great deal of knowledge you can pick up. The general anatomy and understanding of the simple and easy dietary requirements of a cricket farm are all great learning tools. It can make an excellent school, camp or family project to work on together.
4 – Its A Food Source
Probably the most amazing thing about a cricket farm is that you are producing an alternative food source. It is not uncommon for crickets to be fed to retiles, because of the quality of nutrients contained in the insect. This is why crickets are fast becoming a food replacement for humans. Again, based on the nutrient value.
5 – Its A Way Of Life In Some Parts of The World Already
Different cultures have different customs. Some of them also eat very differently that what you may consider a regular diet. Insects have been on the menu and plates of many different cultures for centuries. In fact, ancient evidence suggests that insects have been a regular food source for humans for a very, very long time in certain parts of the world.
So, What Do I Really Think About Insect Protein?
I’m not against it. I have actually enjoyed dining on products that contain insect protein in the form of cricket flour. I didn’t find it weird, unusual or icky. In fact, if I didn’t know any better I’d have no idea that crickets were even involved. I think this is where the main hurdle exists. If you did not know that cricket flour was used in a product you consume, you probably wouldn’t even mind as much. At least that’s my take on the subject.
It was a year ago today, on August 31, 2016, when we finally completed emptying out our downtown storefront office. It was where we had published a weekly community newspaper since February 2004. The paper I had bought from my former boss and it meant both my wife, Brenda, and I had essentially bought jobs for ourselves.
Technology eventually ate away at our small town business but before we started to close the business I had turned to the new technology to help. One of the first things I did was write and publish a handful of eBooks. The third title was “The Foodie Guide to Farming Insects for Protein” which went live in October 2015.
By the time we closed our business, less than a year later, I had no idea what significance insect protein would have in my life. As it turns out, I can partially credit that little eBook as encouraging me to build a full-time freelance writing business. I had been dabbling in it for a couple years before we shut down the newspaper.
The eBook sales for what I have affectionately called my “cricket eBook” has been consistent since the day it was released. It is still, to this day, my most popular title and I have written and released three more since then. The interest in finding – or at least looking into – alternative protein sources keeps selling my information eBook.
I am far from an expert on the subject of insect protein but I have studied enough about it to understand there is some solid evidence to back up the benefits. I have also been interested enough to try a couple of products featuring cricket flour as an ingredient. But what exactly has that got to do with the anniversary of vacating our former storefront?
Well, now that I write full-time from home I have discovered that I have found my niche. Just like the “cricket eBook” is about a specific niche. In a way I feed off of that knowledge and it helps me see that writing will continue to play a vital role in my life and if some of that writing is educational, then all the better for everyone.
I’m not proposing that insect protein is the one and only answer. However, I do believe it does have a great deal of merit as an alternate source of protein. Just like my freelance writing become an alternate source of income for me that has since transitioned into a main source. I see several parallels between them and find it fitting to write about them today.
To find out more about my “cricket eBook” all you have to do is click “The Foodie Guide to Farming Insects for Protein” to find it. If you have an interest in finding a different protein source, you may discover that insect protein is the niche that fills that need. I know you will find it interesting and possibly something worth exploring further.
There is something about edible insects that I have recently learned. It has not so much to do with the actually critters but more to do with what you seem to think about them. When I wrote my eBook “The Foodie Guide To Farming Insects For Protein” I expected it to sell. I just didn’t expect it to be a steady seller.
In fact, in the past couple of months it has outsold all my other eBooks combined by a rate of 5 to 1. To date it stands alone as my top selling eBook. But why is it so popular? I have a few ideas and I’d like to share them with you here:
1 – It’s Not A Creepy Subject Anymore
For many, eating insects is already part of their culture. There is nothing unusual about munching on crickets or mealworms as a snack. In fact, more and more people are discovering that these bugs are as tasty a treat and much better for you than standard snack foods.
2 – They Are Easy To Raise
Insects are already breeding at alarming rates. To have a successful cricket farm it doesn’t take much more than creating the right ‘climate’ conditions for breeding to happen. Once you figure it out, you can have a regular rotation of new crickets ready to sell weekly.
3 – You Can’t Deny The Nutritional Part
Sure, they may seem small and icky to some. But when you compare the actual nutritional values between edible insects and other traditional forms of protein, bugs are near the top of the heap. They even provide some nutrients not found in other protein sources.
4 – They Blend Well For Other Products
My most favourite way to eat crickets (and I have) is when they have been ground up into flour. I have dined on cricket pasta and cricket protein bars. With the insects not looking like insects, it is easier to swallow (pun not intended). Cricket flour can be used to create many different items and as a result adds some high value protein any recipe.
5 – It’s A Healthy Choice
Regardless of how you look at edible insects, any kind of alternative protein product is going to have some kind of health benefit. The bottom line is that our bodies require protein and supplementation can only do so much if you are not a red meat eater. Plus, you still have the option to not dine or snack on crickets as well.
Want To Learn More?
If you are curious enough to want more information just look up my eBook “The Foodie Guide to Farming Insects for Protein.” In it I tell you much more about the nutritional benefits of edible insects, how to raise them at home and also include a few recipes to try yourself.
Today I finally made the change. After operating this website with the domain name of www.EatBugs.info since I launched it, I changed it. I had purchased two really good keyword domain names but did not want to start all over again and go through a complete rebuild if I could avoid it. Today I just went ahead and switched domains. It was pretty easy.
This website and blog will now appear at www.InsectProtein.net and I’ll still forward visitors from the previous domain. In fact, I had been forwarding from the Insect Protein domain ever since I registered it, and that is why I decided to make the complete switch. Traffic figures were showing me that visitors were coming from that domain name so it made sense to change.
What’s The Deal About Insect Protein?
Aside from being a common search term used by people like you on the internet, there really is something serious about insect protein. The average cricket contains 65-percent protein. Compare that to a cow and there is a difference in that beef totals roughly 50-percent protein. Then there’s fat. Insects contain less than 5-percent fat per serving.
Where insect protein really makes a difference is when you look at what it does to the environment. Because insect farming takes less space, the insects are easy to feed and can survive all kinds of different conditions, they are considered more sustainable. Plus, the protein in insects carries a lot of additional benefits identified collectively as nutrients.
Nutrient Rich Little Buggers
The list of nutrients present in bugs is impressive. They have a wide variety of amino acids, minerals and vitamins. Add to this unsaturated fatty acids and even polyunsaturated fatty acids and you have a solid nutrient base in a single source. Also, there is no shortage of choices as there are well over 3-hundred different species of insects in the world.
Yummy, Yummy, Get In My Tummy
Finally, what makes the whole idea of munching on crickets, mealworms or ants even more interesting is that they can be prepared in many, many ways. Aside from dipped in chocolate you can have your insects roasted, baked with oil and seasoning salt. You can fry them, boil them or grind them up with flour for baking in several ways. Cricket Cookies, anyone?
To find out more about how you can benefit from adding insect protein in your diet search for “The Foodie Guide to Farming Insects for Protein.” It is one of my published eBooks you can access by visiting my Amazon Author Page. Or if you would rather just download your copy of my ‘Cricket eBook’ click on the link here.
What I have grown to affectionately refer to as my ‘Cricket eBook’ has become my best selling publication to date. In fact, it has outsold all of my other eBooks combined. Plus, it receives the most pages read online than all my other eBooks combined as well. Why it is so popular is still a bit of a mystery to me.
Titled “The Foodie Guide to Farming Insects for Protein” I published it at Amazon as a Kindle product on October 14, 2015. At the time, it was my third eBook and probably the most unusual at the time. When I first published it there were no other eBooks that I could find on the subject. Now there are so many I’m even more surprised that I still sell copies of mine.
In fact, earlier this month my ‘Cricket eBook’ held the #5 position in Canada in the High Protein Diet category. I was a lot more than just a little bit stunned when I discovered that piece of trivia. The eBook has brought me in contact with several individuals and businesses that support the entire edible insect movement. I’m even convinced it can solve hunger issues all over the globe.
But I would never have imagined that my little (it’s not a very long read) contribution was going to have such an impact. I wasn’t really sure what was going to happen once I started writing it. All I knew was that I was on to a new trend and that maybe I could benefit from it in some small way. By the way, the revenue so far in eBook sales will not make me rich.
The idea of the eBook was just one of those things that happened. I was reading a magazine in a doctor’s office and for some reason I kept flipping back to a page on edible insects. It didn’t sound all that strange to me and I thought nothing more about it. On the way home I mentioned the article to my wife, Brenda and then told her I thought I had an idea for a new eBook.
Within days I was researching and writing and had it published shortly after that.
I have since published three more eBooks – each one on a very different subject – and although each of my total of six eBooks has seen some sales, nothing comes close to the activity on my ‘Cricket eBook’ and it would take a major miracle for any of the others to catch up to it any time soon. Which is okay as far as I’m concerned.
I suspect I will keep publishing a couple titles per year until I have a complete catalogue of eBooks online. Regardless of what happens to them I will never forget the funky little one about insect protein that caught the attention of readers from all over the world – most copies have been sold in the United States for some reason. Some in Mexico, Canada and the United Kingdom.
To find out more about “The Foodie Guide to Farming Insects for Protein” or any of my other eBooks visit my Amazon Author Page. To download your copy of my ‘Cricket eBook’ click on the link here.
It was months ago when I first approached Coast Protein in New Westminster, British Columbia. They had launched a Kickstarter campaign related to their cricket protein bar products. I was originally tipped off about it by a friend on the West Coast who had tried their protein bar and pointed the product out to me.
While I have been keeping my eyes open for any kind of cricket protein bar in the health food stores I frequent (which is rather infrequent since the nearest one to me is over an hour away) I have had no luck. That was what prompted me to just go ahead and contact Coast Protein. I explained a bit about my eBook (see below) and that I have posted a video and review already on this website for a cricket pasta product.
I explained I was keen on trying my first cricket protein bar and was hoping it would be one of theirs. They offered to send a sample and I left it at that. A package arrived a few weeks ago (March 2017) and I decided to hold off until Earth Day (April 22) to conduct the actual taste test. Oddly enough, it was exactly a year ago to the day when we tried cricket pasta for the first time.
When I opened the package I was pleased to discover that Coast Protein had sent a sample of two protein bars. One was identified as Dark Chocolate Raisin and the other was named Peanut Butter. I liked the basic packaging of the pair in a plain brown wrapper with a decal on the front with the company logo and name of the item. The back had a decal with all the nutritional information, an ingredient list and related details.
So, I tore into them.
The two bars looked a lot alike in that they were flat with squared edges. Both were thick in size and felt hefty which indicated that they were densely packed giving me the feeling they would prove to be satisfying as a quick snack or pick-me-up during a day or between workouts. The only real noticeable difference between the two cricket protein bars in appearance was that the Dark Chocolate Raisin one was a deep, dark brownish/black. The Peanut Butter one was the creamy light brown of your favourite peanut spread.
I chose to try the Dark Chocolate Raisin bar first. I had to bite into it to break a piece off, but it was not difficult. I liked that the bar was not crumbly, and it broke up nicely when chewed. The first thing I tasted was the dark chocolate and the raisins. My wife, Brenda tried it the following morning and described it as having “a heavy raisin taste” which scored high with both of us. The dark chocolate blended well with the raisins. I could pick up a hint of the honey and sunflower seeds. In all, a very tasty protein bar that I snacked on throughout the following day, enjoying each bite.
The Peanut Butter bar was as solid as the first one. Not crumbly at all, and broke up nicely when chewed. I noticed instantly that it was drier than the first bar. That would have been because of the peanut content and lack of raisins. However, after tasting peanuts I picked up on the apples and pears which added a hint of a fruity after taste. Again, this was also another great tasting protein bar that I munched on throughout the following day.
What About The Crickets?
Ah, yes. They are cricket protein bars. The cricket content in these comes in the form of cricket flour. Each bar listed the protein content as 20%. The ingredient list on both gives a hint at the amount of cricket flour there is in each as that is listed as the third item in the Dark Chocolate Raisin bar and sixth in the Peanut Butter bar. As ingredients are typically listed in order of amount starting with the most and going down from there, I’m guessing there is not a lot of cricket flour in either. But, it is in there somewhere.
Each Coast Protein bar weighs 58 grams. The Dark Chocolate Raisin (DCR) one has 282 calories versus 275 with the Peanut Butter (PB) bar. Here is a breakdown of the rest of the contents: Fat (15 grams each with DCR having 12% saturated to 11% for PB. Both show 0% trans fats), both bars have no cholesterol, with sodium at 152mg (DCR) and 127mg (PB). Carbs show up as 26g (DCR) and 25g (PB) with that broken down further to show 4.21g of fiber and 16g sugars (DCR) to 3.79g fiber and 18g sugars (PB). As already stated, both bars have 20% or 10g of protein. Neither record any Vitamin A, with DCR showing 1% Vitamin C (0% PB) and 3% calcium (2% PB). The only real difference in numbers comes from the amount of iron in each bar. PB has just 3% where DCR has 8%.
If I had to pick one from the pair in a head-to-head contest the Dark Chocolate Raisin variety would get my vote. That’s only because they had me at dark chocolate. If the choices were say, Peanut Butter versus something like Apple Pear (I’m making this up as an example) the Peanut Butter would win simply because of it being peanut butter which happens to be my daily breakfast companion and go-to comfort treat.
But let’s look at each of them individually. On a scale of 1 to 5 I would rate the Dark Chocolate Raisin a 5 (taste, texture, flavour) and the Peanut Butter a 4.9 only because it was a little drier than the Dark Chocolate Raisin. Would I recommend either of these to you? Most definitely I would! Coast Protein has an incredible product with their cricket protein bars and I thank them for allowing me to do this with them.
For More Information
For further information on Coast Protein, visit their website at www.CoastProtein.com. To find out more about cricket farming, download my eBook titled “The Foodie Guide To Farming Insects For Protein.” The eBook details the materials required to properly breed crickets or mealworms. It also includes some easy recipes to allow you to enjoy your harvest. The eBook is available at Amazon for $3.99 USD.
When researching the term ‘insect protein’ online I found an interesting piece of information. There is a group that has recently formed that is looking to dig deeper than ever into the subject of entomophagy – that’s the human consumption of insects. The group is the NAEIC – the North American Edible Insect Coalition. While on their website I tried to join, but I’m not sure if my survey answers will earn me a membership application or not.
What impressed me most is that such a group now exists. It sort of gives my argument that insect protein is good for you a bit more support. In the words of the NAEIC, they say their mission is “is to foster collaboration amongst stakeholders and create a consolidated voice to encourage the positive growth of insects as both feed and food” and includes the disclaimer that “this Mission Statement will be revised or approved by the Board of Directors” which makes me think this is an extremely new organization.
It also tells me that if you have been thinking that cricket flour and cricket protein bars are just a fad, think again. The folks who got together to form the Edible Insect Coalition are some of the movers and shakers in this new wave of protein products ranging from insect farmers to product producers. What really makes the most sense is that the group was born from the people in the industry in an effort to move the industry forward. I’ve always believed success is more likely when those with vested interests are involved.
That is why I happen to find the formation of the North American Edible Insect Coalition as such a stroke of brilliance. The Board of Directors was elected following member voting in November and December 2016. A simple Whois Domain search shows that the NAEIC website domain name was originally created on April 4, 2016 so this was not a hastily thrown together group seeking some kind of hangout for like-minded insect eaters.
In fact, if you take a good look at their website you will discover a rather complex but well executed structural flow chart and details on the roles and duties for each and every member of the board. So many other groups could learn some valuable lessons on how to develop a leadership model just from that alone. To say I am impressed is putting it mildly. I think it is safe to say that the North American Edible Insect Coalition is going to have some legs – pun not intended, but I’m not editing it.
For More Information
To find out more about cricket farming, download my eBook titled “The Foodie Guide To Farming Insects For Protein.” The eBook details the materials required to properly breed crickets or mealworms. It also includes some easy recipes to allow you to enjoy your harvest. The eBook is available at Amazon for $3.99 USD.
My name is George Elliott. I have been in the Media Industry since 1978. I spent 23 years in Broadcasting and worked in a total of six different radio stations located in southern British Columbia Canada during my career. In 2000 I switched gears and moved into the Print Media Industry at a small town, local weekly newspaper. In 2004 I bought the paper and operated it with my wife, Brenda until July 2016 when we closed it. I launched a freelance web content and article writing business from my home in January 2014.