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SENS Bar, Part 2

As an insect-eating enthusiast, I’m always keen to try new products and to share them with friends. For that reason, I was excited to try the new SENS bars, which are made using cricket flour.

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I received four different flavoured bars in the post: two protein bars and two energy bars. They were professionally packaged and attractive looking and came with a couple of cool stickers.

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Here are some key facts about the bars:

  • The crickets in Sens bars are dried and milled, making them into a flour that is not visible in the finished bar
  • Each protein bar contains about 132 crickets, and each energy bar contains about 55
  • The bars have a shelf life of 9 months and don’t need refrigerating

SENS Energy Bars

Sens energy bar infographic

Dark chocolate and orange

sens dark chocolate orange ingredients

Sense dark chocolate orange nutrition

 Pineapple and coconut

Sens pineapple and coconut ingredients

Sense pineapple and coconut nutrition

 Sens protein bars

Sens Bar infographic

Peanut butter and cinnamon

Sens peanut butter bar ingredients

peanut butter and cinnamon Sens protein bar

 dark chocolate and sesame

Sens Dark Chocolate sesame bar ingredients

Sens dark chocolate sesame bar nutrition
Some pros and cons of cricket bars:

  • They are portable and don’t need to be refrigerated
  • They are easy to share
  • They are recognisable food products, with detailed nutritional information
  • They don’t need cooking or heating
  • Each bar is quite high in calories (204 – 321), so would suit those with active lifestyles, who need an energy or protein boost

The motivation behind Sens is to make insect eating the new normal. They say their products help people to increase their protein intake without adding too much sugar or carbs. The benefit of using insect ingredients is due to their sustainability and cruelty-free farming. Since the bars are high in protein and energy, they are aimed at those who need to snack on-the-go, before or after a workout, or during a hectic day at work.
I asked Sens about their future plans and they said they hope to start selling bars at fitness centres in the future, as well as considering new products, such as bread enriched with cricket flour.

You can find out more about Sens bar and try some yourself by visiting https://www.sensbar.com/en/shop-now A sample pack containing all four flavours will cost £9.99, and is shipped to addresses in the EU free of charge. Individual bars can be purchased from £2.14 per protein bar and £1.70 per energy bar. Sens hope to begin selling bars at fitness centre in the future.

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Eating the new SENS Bar

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of receiving some samples of the new SENS bars in the post. A SENS spokesperson told me their aim is to make insect eating “the new normal”, so they have created tasty protein and energy bars that use cricket flour as the key ingredient. Rather than eat them all myself, I shared them with a group of friends, who offered their feedback.

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Straight to the tasting!

The energy bars were created as a well-balanced and filling snack, that should demonstrate how tasty cricket products should be. With that in mind, here are our thoughts on tasting them:

Dark chocolate & orange Energy bar (50g/bar with 7.7g protein) 10% cricket flour

Oh so tasty. Personally, this was my favourite bar. The orange has a really strong kick, which is quite refreshing. People said it had a good aftertaste, though it was a bit dry in the mouth. This one is definitely a crowd-pleaser.

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Pineapple & coconut Energy bar (50g/bar with 6.5g protein) 10% cricket flour

I was surprised I liked this one, as I typically don’t like coconut in sweet products! Actually, it was really nice. Some of my friends found it a bit too sweet due to the pineapple, and they preferred the protein bars to the energy bars. This bar had the best consistency of the four; it stuck together well and had a great texture to it.

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The protein bars are made using high quality protein and unprocessed, natural ingredients, with the aim of being low in carbohydrates and not too sweet in taste. They should be good for muscle recovery after workouts.

Peanut butter & cinnamon Protein Bar (60g/bar with 20g protein) 20% cricket flour

This was another of our favourites. The peanut butter and cinnamon combination works really well, without making the bar too sweet. It had a great, almost sticky texture which made it really moreish.

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Dark chocolate & sesame Protein Bar (60g/bar with 20g protein) 20% cricket flour

This was the least sweet of the bars, and the dark chocolate gave it a nice rich flavour. We did find this one a bit dry and crumbly, so 60g in one sitting might be a bit too much for my taste-testers.

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Our conclusions

We really enjoyed tasting the varied flavours of the SENS bars. They were each unique in flavour and texture, showing that cricket flour products can be quite versatile. Some of my guests said that the bars had an aroma that reminded them of a pet store, so perhaps it will take time for some of us to adjust to associating insects with food. I feel the more that people get to experience insect products, the more normalised it becomes.

The majority of my party guests have tried my home-cooked products before and had no hesitation in trying the new SENS bars. Those who were new to the idea had heard how good they tasted, and were keen to finally try them. The overall favourite was the dark chocolate and orange bar, though we liked the texture and consistency of the pineapple and coconut the best.

You can find out more about Sens bar and try some yourself by visiting https://www.sensbar.com/en/shop-now A sample pack containing all four flavours will cost £9.99, and is shipped to addresses in the EU free of charge.

 

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A Presentation at the Royal Society

Many great names in science have presented at the Royal Society in London. Newton, Franklin, Darwin, and, in February, our own Jenny Josephs. Admittedly, she was not there to present a novel thesis, but to teach an audience of children and adults about eating insects as part of the Parent Carer Scientist project launch.
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Nonetheless the event was as grand as you might expect. Sumptuous carpets, dignified oil portraits frowning down from the walls, etc. It was a genuine privilege (and great fun) to work in these surroundings, and the audience was fantastic. It can be quite a challenge to simplify a talk well enough that children are engaged but their parents aren’t bored, but this event was extremely rewarding. The kids learned so much and asked so many great questions, then afterwards Jenny got the chance to speak individually to well-respected scientists and audience members, all of whom complimented her on the inspiring presentation. As a parting gift the RS gave Jenny a lovely bag printed with a flea design which she got to make herself.
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This time we were fully prepared in terms of catering, with plenty of tasty and fun child-appropriate snacks. Falafels, buffalo worm flapjacks, pork and mealworm sausage rolls, and of course toasted soy mealworms and crickets made a spread so enticing that a lot of the (delicious!) food catered by the Royal Society ended up going uneaten. This is not quite the message of sustainability we try to promote! We took home many of the leftovers to share with friends but it was still a shame to see so much food going to waste. We hope that through our work we can help to make people more mindful of what they consume and what they waste. There are so many better uses for food than throwing it away!
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Interview and Tasting on CBBC Newsround

It’s been such a hectic few months here at the Bug Shack that we’ve barely been able to keep you all updated! But while Jenny is in Thailand researching the many joys that international entomophagy has to offer we at home thought we should bring you up to speed!

Way back in October Jenny was invited to a live TV interview and bug-tasting for CBBC Newsround. This a very exciting opportunity to publicise the health and sustainability benefits of eating insects, and all the folk at the BBC were enthusiastic and friendly. Jenny even had someone to do her makeup!

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Official!

The aim was to discuss new EFSA documentation which came out around the same time, ruling that insects are indeed safe to eat and farm in the EU. The takeaway point for the kids watching at home was that some bugs can and should be eaten, but that you shouldn’t eat them straight out of the garden because you don’t know what the bugs have been eating.

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Unfortunately the invitation came at extremely short notice so there was no time to whip up some delicious falafel, muffins, or sausage rolls. Instead we took along some soy-sauce roasted mealworms, and they had some grasshoppers from another company. While these are quite tasty in their own right they do look rather dry and present more of a psychological barrier as they are quite obviously bugs! While the cameramen were up for the challenge the poor presenter Leah found it rather more difficult. In the linked video she makes some quite impressive faces, which doesn’t really bring across a positive message! After sipping some water though she admitted it wasn’t the taste at fault, but the mental barrier of munching on creepy-crawlies.

Watch the interview and tasting here!

Cafe Scientific

Last night’s talk was a lot of fun! I was told to expect about 20 to 40 people, but ended up getting at least 50.

A show of hands at the end of the night revealed that 90% of those attending tried the mealworm snacks I brought to try. I had one very disappointed customer (a chef) who was unable to try my snacks as he was allergic to shellfish (people who have this allergy are often allergic to insects as well).

I had a very engaged audience from backgrounds ranging from civil engineering to biomedical sciences and clinical neurophysiology.

Some great questions were asked at the end and I will attempt to compile these in a future post.

Now I am off to cook several insect dishes for my pop-up shop at the University of Southampton tomorrow.