colored bug candy with insects inside lollipops

What is Bug Candy and Should You Try It?

I recently traveled to Surfside Beach, South Carolina for vacation and, for some reason, gigantic candy stores are a big tourist attraction there.

Seeing as I had my kids, of course, we had to research the reviews of the 5 candy shops near where we were staying and choose the best one. We picked one called Gretel’s Candy House.

As you can imagine, every parent in that store had no idea where their child went. Kids were running amuck around all the candy carousels and bulk dispensers, only reuniting with their parents to show them something they found.

Once I wrangled my kids to the checkout counter, my eyes were drawn downward to what was displayed on shelves in front of us. Bug candy is apparently a new trend in the world of sweets.

What is Bug Candy?

Bug candy, AKA insect candy, refers to confectionery items made from insects or contain insects as ingredients. It’s pretty straightforward, but you’re probably wondering what this kind of candy really contains.

Brace yourself: here’s what can be in it.

This type of candy can include a variety of insects such as crickets, mealworms, ants, scorpions, and beetles. Insect-based candies are typically marketed as novelty items, adventurous snacks, or as part of a sustainable food movement.

Here are some examples:

  • Lollipops with Insects: These are lollipops that have an insect, such as a cricket or scorpion, embedded inside the candy.
  • Chocolate-Covered Insects: Various insects like crickets or mealworms are coated in chocolate, often dark or milk chocolate.
  • Gummy Candies with Insects: Gummies that contain small insects within the gelatin base.
  • Insect Flour Candies: Some candies are made using flour that is produced from ground insects, such as cricket flour, which is high in protein and used to create various sweet treats.
  • Seasoned Insects: Like you see in the photo below, sometimes bugs are dehydrated and coated in flavorings like cheddar powder.

Are There Bug Candy Benefits?

In many cultures, eating insects is not only common but also an important source of nutrition. After all, they are a living being and therefore a source of protein.

The use of insects in candy and other foods is part of a growing trend to introduce entomophagy (the practice of eating insects) to Western diets.

People who advocate for this trend highlight the environmental and nutritional benefits of insects, as they do contain nutrients and have a much lower environmental footprint compared to livestock.

As for flavor benefits, I’d just assume leave that up to personal preference (though I really can’t imagine it tastes like anything someone would crave).

Should You Try It?

If you’re wondering if I tried bug candy, the answer is no. I would venture to say this answer would be the same even if I didn’t adhere to a plant-based diet because, well, the last place I want insects is in my mouth.

If you’re into weird food adventures, perhaps trying bug candy is right up your alley. And you don’t have to travel to South Carolina to find them. They’re likely stocked at candy stores around the country and you can easily find them online.