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University of Denver student launches own brand of insect-based granola

Clare Whetzel 'Illegal Oats' Granola.jpg
Posted at 8:41 AM, May 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-02 11:35:02-04

DENVER — A healthy snack with simple, natural ingredients — that's the idea behind University of Denver student, Clare Whetzel’s 'Illegal Oats' Granola.

"I have three flavors, and in all the flavors, I only have about six to eight ingredients," Whetzel said. "Compared to grocery store granola, other forms of protein, that's a lot better for you than having preservatives and emulsifiers and all of that unnatural stuff."

The granola comes in three different flavors: chocolate, orange-cranberry and honey nut. But the real magic ingredient is meal worms.

It all started when Whetzel entered a pitch competition at her school, DU.

"I thought, we can get insect powder into everyday foods and that way, we can have an alternative source of protein to meat, and it's more environmentally friendly and actually a lot more healthy," Whetzel said. "So, I submitted that idea and got the grant, and that was the beginning."

For the most part, Whetzel said the response has been positive, and she has developed a lot of regular customers.

"I still have those people who like will make a grossed out face or refused to eat it," Whetzel said. "Actually, the most fun sales are the people who originally say 'no way,' but then then I am able to like convert them, and then they love eating the granola."

The ento-granola is already on the shelves of one Denver grocery store, Co-op at 1st.

Whetzel will also be selling it at Highlands Farmers Market starting on May 22.