-- Atlanta Hawks executives are chirping about the new food debuting this season at their arena: Crickets.
Looking to create some buzz, executive sous chef Blake Stembridge struck a deal with edible cricket brand Aketta to give fans the opportunity to experience protein in a new form.
"We did an internal taste test and people really loved them," said Robert DiCicco, vice president of hospitality and strategy at Phillips Arena. "As part of transforming our concessions experience, we want to give people the chance to try something here that they normally wouldn't consider."
Fans of the Hawks, who play their home opener on Friday night versus the Denver Nuggets, can get their crickets in two forms.
A one ounce bag of crickets, in a sweet and spicy flavoring Aketta made just for the Hawks, sells for $4.50. A taqueria in the arena is offering three tacos with crickets, avocado, cilantro, onion and queso for $12.
DiCicco said a pimento cheese sandwich with deep fried cricket crumbs is being worked on and will be available sometime this season.
The Hawks got their inspiration to sell edible insects from the Seattle Mariners, who were the talk of Major League Baseball for selling grasshoppers this season.
Research company Persistence Market Research predicts that the edible insects market will grow by six percent a year through 2024.