Posted: August 29, 2017

Penn State food science graduate students are creating a new pasta fortified with cricket flour. They talked up the advantages of eating crickets and their new Bold Foods brand with visitors to Ag Progress Days.

To start winning people over to crickets as a food that's healthy for people and the planet, the student entrepreneurs asked visitors to Ag Progress Days to vote on the question. Using colored straws, people weighed in on the idea.

The Bold Foods display saw a steady and robust volume of people over the three-day event. Fewer visitors overall said they would eat crickets than those who already had tried them or were open to the idea.

Nonetheless, it was a great ice-breaker -- especially for young children -- and opening for students Weslie Khoo and Haoshu Zhang to explain that crickets are high in protein, nutritious and sustainable, making them a great addition to pasta.

Khoo, Zhang and teammate Lauriel Stewart, also a food science graduate student, won the $7,500 Ag Springboard top prize at the student business pitch contest.

The team has created the Bold Foods brand, logo and website to market the pasta. Its next step is to conduct sensory testing with the help of Penn State's Center for Food Innovation to find out how people respond to the taste and texture.

Sounds crazy? According to this 2015 article in Fortune magazine, these student entrepreneurs are right on-trend!