Crickets on a (JetBlue) plane!

Starting in 2015, JetBlue will offer snack boxes that contain EXO cricket bars. Here's why the natural industry should celebrate.

Have you ever craved crickets at 30,000 feet? If you fly JetBlue, you’ll soon be able to get your bug bar on while jumping puddles.

JetBlue recently announced a partnership with AccelFoods, an incubator for startup natural food companies, to provide snack boxes for hungry travelers on select flights. Included in the boxes will be a smattering of AccelFood’s brands, such as Kolat, Cocomels, Evoke muesli and Whynatte. Most notably, EXO—makers of cricket-containing protein bars—will also be included in the mix.

“Our initiative with JetBlue provides great exposure for the entire AccelFoods portfolio, and is a unique opportunity for our brands to engage with consumers in a way that they have never done before," said AccelFoods Managing Partner Jordan Gaspar in a press release. “Offering our products at the Terminal 5 event and onboard demonstrates JetBlue's commitment to offering their travelers the most innovative new food and beverage products coming to market.”

We at New Hope were delighted by this announcement because it’s indicative of an accepting consumer base outside core natural shoppers. “At this point it’s all about getting people over the psychological hurdle of insects as food; in other words, getting people to actually eat anything with any (intentional) amount of insects in it,” says Elisa Bosley, editor-in-chief of Delicious Living and lover of cricket bars. "Right now it’s a novelty, but so were chia seeds a couple of decades ago.”

Indeed, exposing folks to the idea of edible insects could have massive positive implications, such as reduced greenhouse emissions and saving water. Last year, the United Nations released a report citing that eating bugs could reduce greenhouse emissions, increase food security and better global livelihoods. “It's widely accepted that by 2050 the world will host 9 billion people. To accomodate this number, current food production will need to almost double... Insects as food and feed emerge as an especially relevant issue in the twenty-first century… Thus, alternative solutions to conventional livestock and feed sources urgently need to be found,” explains the study.

Some fliers won’t be able to overcome EXO’s “ick” factor. But I expect adventurous travelers will buy these snack boxes for the sole reason that they contain an insect bar. (The essence of travel is about stepping out of comfort zones, after all.)

And if they don’t like eating crickets? Wash it down with a Cocomel.

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