Typically, the makers of processed food containing bugs mostly use crickets and mealworms from farms in Canada, USA, Netherlands and Thailand.
But now manufacturer Bugsolutely has tapped into the potential of silkworms.
Silkworms are a byproduct of the silk industry, and they are fed only with leaves from mulberry trees – resulting in a perfect circular economy.
The 500,000 tons produced every year in China (75% of the worldwide production) are highly underutilised: mostly used as feed for animals, after the silk is reeled from the cocoon.
This is despite silkworms being a superfood like crickets and mealworms. They are packed with fibre, vitamins, minerals and protein.
Bella Pupa contains 20% silkworm powder and it is also the first edible insect product to be made in China.
“We are really excited: after one year of R&D, we have a yummy snack with very good nutritional values. The product won the Innovative Award from the Food and Beverage Innovation Forum”, said Massimo Reverberi, founder of Bugsolutely.
To create the new snack, Bugsolutely engaged Mill Food Intelligence, a food design firm. After 48 prototypes, and a number of consumer panel tests, the final snack was born. The product will initially be available in two flavors: Original and Angry Sichuan.
From October 15, the product will be available in selected online and offline stores in China. The product is also available for export.
Bella Pupa will initially target Shanghai but also provinces where eating insects is considered normal. The total population living in those provinces exceeds 600 million people.
"The taste is really good and the market potential for this product is definitely high. It can also leverages on the fast growth of the snack category in China," declared Loris Li, Associate Director, Mintel.