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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Can a New Gluten-Free Cricket-Flour Cookbook Turn Americans on to Eating Bugs?

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      Former Ralph Lauren marketing executive, Robyn Shapiro, has created all-purpose, gluten-free cricket flour, which can be used cup for cup in any recipe calling for flour. Will Americans bite?


    Caption: Image: CC--Katja Schulz

    Celiac.com 08/09/2018 - Whatever one might say about crawfish, shrimp and crustaceans in general, Americans don’t typically eat bugs. Can a former Ralph Lauren marketing executive turn the world on to flour made from crickets?

    Over the last few years, Americans have been presented with a buffet of alternative proteins and meals. Robyn Shapiro’s company, Seek, has created all-purpose, gluten-free, and Paleo blended flours, which can be used cup for cup in any recipe calling for flour. 

    The company, which makes pure cricket powder for smoothies, ice creams, and other liquid-based foods, is now selling cinnamon-almond crunch cricket protein and snack bites. To get the public interested in its cricket protein and cricket flour products, Shapiro has collaborated with famous chefs to create recipes for The Cricket Cookbook. 

    The book’s cast includes La Newyorkina chef Fany Gerson, a Mexico City native known for her cricket sundaes; noted Sioux chef and cookbook author Sean Sherman; and former Noma pastry chef Ghetto Gastro member, Malcolm Livingston, among others.

    Other companies have sought to promote the benefits of insect protein, including Chapul, which makes cricket protein bars and powders, and Exo, which makes dairy- and gluten-free cricket protein bars in flavors like cocoa nut and banana bread. These companies, along with others in the business tend to aim their products at Paleo dieters by promising more protein and no dairy.

    Seek’s chef-focused approach makes it unique. By pairing with noted chefs who already use bugs and bug protein in their cooking, Shapiro is looking to make the public more comfortable and confident in using bugs to cook and bake. So far, the response has been slow, but steady. Seek has already raised nearly $13,000 from 28 backers, well on its way toward its $25,000 goal. 

    Seek’s cricket flours and other products will initially only be available via Kickstarter. If that goes well, the products will be sold on Seek’s website. Early backers will get a discount and a chance for a signed copy of the book. Seek hopes to debut their products nationwide starting in the fall. 

    Could gluten-free cricket flour and the new cookbook be the next big gluten-free Christmas gift? Stay tuned for more on this and other gluten-free stories.

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    Amusingly insects fed a gluten diet and ground into a protein are not gluten free....unlike livestock we do not carefully separate the guts from the meat but instead with bugs grind them whole into a powder.
    All cricket food for feeder insects contains gluten that I have found.
    I would be interested to know if they test this cricket flour for gluten or assume that crickets are not wheat so gluten free.

    Reasoning on this, I have a pet bearded dragon who I used to get crickets and meal worms for him and I put them in a gluten tester (yeah do not picture this in your head) and the came back positive. I tried finding safe cricket food and ended up just feeding them veggie scraps. I recently am transitioning to trying to find other feeders for him.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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