Care for a side of insects with your fries? The trend of bug-infused bites continues to swarm restaurant menus across the country, with the latest entrant appearing at a fast food chain.
Wayback Burgers, which operates more than 100 locations throughout the U.S. and Argentina, will debut a cricket protein-laced shake on July 1 that is Oreo Mud Pie in taste but infused with Peruvian chocolate-flavored cricket powder for an alternative energy boost.
"There won't be big pieces of cricket floating in your shake or anything," Gillian Maffeo, director of marketing for Wayback Burgers, told ABC News. "We use a protein powder that looks very similar to whey powder. So it's ground up cricket and you wouldn't even know the difference if you were drinking it, quite honestly."
The decision to introduce the insect-infused refreshment evolved organically over the spring after the flavor was teased online as part of an April Fools stunt.
"We received such a great response, we decided to call up an organic cricket protein vendor and test it out at one location in East Meadow, Long Island, in New York," Maffeo said. "There ended up being lines of people, camera crews, and everyone loved it. It just happened so fast and so sudden. So we decided to roll out an official version at all locations beginning July 1."
While bugs are consumed by roughly 2 billion people around the world, according to the United Nations, American palates have been slow to come around to creepy crawlies as a source of sustenance. But that is changing. In the last two years, pop-up restaurants, energy supplements and even candies have all started to tout insects as intentional ingredients.
Those interested in sipping the original 22-ounce liquid version can look for the Oreo Mud Pie Cricket Protein Milkshake on Wayback Burgers' menus this week. But if mudslides aren't to your taste, customers can also request the Peruvian chocolate-flavored cricket protein powder be added to any of the restaurant's other milkshakes.
Maffeo said any previous concerns the company had about spiking drinks with insects have since been terminated.
"Initially, we thought that we'd get a lot of backlash but the trend right now is that bugs are making their way into foods," she said, noting the appearance of burgers, energy bars, flours and other recent products to the market. "It's definitely a hot commodity."