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San Antonio-based Manna Foods wants to power your day with protein-rich beetle powder

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Manna Foods' protein powder is made with darkling beetles. - COURTESY OF MANNA FOODS
  • Courtesy of Manna Foods
  • Manna Foods' protein powder is made with darkling beetles.
Manna Foods, a new food startup based in San Antonio, aims to fuel health-conscious consumers with a sustainable, nutritious protein powder.

The catch? It's made from insects. Crushed darkling beetles, to be exact.

What that may not sound like a diet for the faint of heart, Manna Foods says it's catering to the ever-growing popularity of diets built around simple, clean eating, both in terms of caloric intake and Earth-saving sustainability. 

"Manna is the most sustainable protein on Earth, it’s natural, and it’s delicious," CEO Luke Wright said.

What's more, people in other parts of the world don't exactly turn up their noses at insects as food.

Cultures across the Americas, Africa, Asia and Australia regularly rely on insects as a dietary source of quality protein, vitamins and minerals. At least one restaurants here in SA is serving traditional Mexican dishes of toasted insects with copitas of mezcal.

The team behind Manna Foods launched their flagship product — Manna Protein — in early September. Kyle Fox, the firm's branding officer, said folks add the crushed beetle powder to their morning smoothies, as one would with whey or soy protein powders. But the most popular recipe on its website is Beetle Brownies, he added.

The darkling beetle powder, which includes no additives or preservatives, can be used as a much more efficient substitute for flour — and reportedly tastes pretty good.

"My initial reaction to tasting Manna was surprise, because it tastes like sunflower seeds," Fox said. "It’s slightly nutty; some people say it smells and tastes like peanut butter."

Adventurous diners can snag some of the sustainable beetle powder at the Alamo Heights Farmers Market or the Manna Foods website.

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