© 2024 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

A Connecticut-Based Burger Chain Is Putting Bugs in Its Food ... On Purpose

Wayback Burgers
The Oreo Mud Pie Cricket Protein Milkshake contains 24 grams of protein.
Crickets are ground up and mixed with chocolate for the bug milkshake.

Gillian Maffeo said it all started as an April Fool's Day joke. Wayback Burgers, a resturant chain headquartered in Cheshire with locations across the state and country, started advertising a new type of milkshake: one infused with protein, from bugs. 

Surprisingly, people took the joke seriously. "It was a really big eye opener," said Maffeo, who directs Wayback's marketing division. "We hit demographics that we never hit before. We hit millennials. We hit the fitness demographic," she continued, "so we scurried to find a cricket vendor, as crazy as that sounds."

They found a farm that grows crickets in Oregon and signed them on as a supplier. The bugs got ground up, mixed with chocolate, and the Oreo Mudpie Cricket Protein Milkshake was born.

"It's hand-dipped with vanilla-bean ice cream. We have Oreo cookie crumbles in it. It's also made with Peruvian-chocolate cricket protein powder," Maffeo said.

She said that last ingredient "looks just like whey protein powder. It looks exactly like it. It's not like crickets are floating around in your milkshake," Maffeo joked. 

Insects have been slow to catch on as food in the West, but the Food and Agriculture Organization with the United Nations has championed them as food. Maffeo said the idea might be finally catching on in America. "Bugs are coming -- they're trending right now," she said. "You're going to start to see bugs pop up even more and more on the menu for a lot of restaurants and brands across the nation."

A recent food report from the United Nations said bugs form a part of the diet of at least two billion people worldwide. Insects are packed with protein, and growing them produces a fraction of the carbon emissions associated with traditional livestock.

In case you're curious, Wayback's cricket milkshake will be on sale through September.

Patrick Skahill is a reporter and digital editor at Connecticut Public. Prior to becoming a reporter, he was the founding producer of Connecticut Public Radio's The Colin McEnroe Show, which began in 2009. Patrick's reporting has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, Here & Now, and All Things Considered. He has also reported for the Marketplace Morning Report. He can be reached at pskahill@ctpublic.org.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.

Related Content