'Is it going to bite me, or shall I eat it?' Insect protein pioneers ask is it 'squeal or meal'?
By Elaine Watson
- Last updated on
Some of the most exciting education sessions, however, were devoted to insects, which many market watchers are predicting could be the next big thing in the 'foodie' market as firms seek more sustainable sources of protein and other nutrients.
In the two years since Chapul launched, the landscape has changed considerably and his bars (each 54g bar has 220 calories and 8g protein) are now in several hundred locations, said Crowley.
"When we first started handing out samples, people were saying this is crazy, you're a bunch of weirdos, what are you doing?"
Today, almost everyone he approaches has at least heard about edible insects, even if they don't recognize his brand, says Crowley, who is initially going after the 'foodie' crowd, although the 'novelty buyer' is also proving to be an important early adopter, he said.
He's also had the kind of PR that most start-ups can only dream about, with 10 minutes in front of 8m viewers of Shark Tank (and yes, one bit), and a wave of media coverage, bolstered in no small part by the 2013 publication of a high-profile report from the FAO about edible insects.
But what about the 'ick' factor?
"Journalists always ask me what do you say to people that can't get over the psychological hurdle of eating insects?" said Crowley. "I say, 'nothing' - we're not targeting these people. We're targeting people that are receptive to our message, that will be our early adopters."
Check out FoodNavigator-USA next week to see Pat Crowley's video interview with Maggie Hennessy.