Wayback Burgers is known for its premium, never-frozen hamburger patties and delicious, creamy hand-dipped milkshakes. It is the milkshakes that are putting Wayback in the news this week, because they will now contain added protein powder to bring each drink over 20 grams of protein per glass.
The controversy is not because any muscle-building benefits of the added protein would be swiftly counteracted by the fat and sugar in the shake, therefore making it sound healthier than it actually is. Instead, it's where the protein is coming from that is giving people pause. Common sources of protein include meat, eggs, nuts, and beans, but this isn't any of those.
So what is this protein source that has everyone talking? Crickets. Yes, that kind of cricket.
But is it really as bad as it sounds?
If you're in shock right now, let's walk through why this is actually good news.
Eating insects as a source of protein is actually much better for the environment, compared to traditional meat sources. For every pound of protein converted from crickets, the same amount that comes from raising cattle for beef requires six times more feed, ten times more water, and markedly more space.
Crickets also don't produce the large quantities of methane that cattle do, and don't contaminate the environment with the antibiotics and hormones through their waste in the same way in which traditional livestock has become notorious.
If you're in the camp that thinks entomophagy (eating bugs) is gross because you think bugs are inherently dirty, you might want to reconsider the foods you already eat. Crickets (and many other insects) often feed on grasses and other high quality plant matter; a pretty big advantage from lobsters, crabs, and other bottom-feeding scavengers.
But how do cricket-infused milkshakes actually taste?
So far, reaction to the milkshakes has been mostly favorable. The cricket flour used to boost the protein doesn't do much to alter the taste of the finished product, so all you can taste is your favorite flavors. The shakes are only available for a limited time (until September 30) and can be found in Wayback's Jerky Milkshake and Oreo Mud Pie Cricket Protein Milkshake.
Of course, eating cricket protein isn't for everyone. Eating crickets and other insects isn't considered vegetarian, which could pose problems for those who do consume dairy products.
There's also a chance that individuals with shellfish allergies could have a reaction to eating the crickets as well. Because they're all arthropods, they contain common allergens. Please enjoy with caution!