As a third-generation cricket farmer in West Monroe, La., Jack Armstrong has seen the family business evolve. When his grandfather started it in the 1940s, most of the crickets were sold for bait. His father began selling crickets as food for iguanas, bearded dragons and other exotic pets. Now, Armstrong is taking the business in a new direction: breeding insects for people to eat.
Though only a small fraction of the roughly 12 million crickets Armstrong sells a week end up on people’s plates now, he’s hopeful that interest in edible insects will rise. He explained why in a recent interview with The Times.
It’s about planning for the future: By the time his grandchildren take over the company, crickets for human consumption could be the most lucrative part of the business, he says.
How long have you been selling crickets for people to eat?
The big push on edible crickets for human consumption has probably been about the past few years. It started jumping from a novelty item sold in novelty stores to companies asking, “Can we make energy bars? Can we make chips?”
The bigger customers that we’re selling to have been demanding that they want to buy 18 to 20,000 pounds of crickets at a time.