With consumer interest in sustainable protein sources and the ability to trace where food is from, The Cricket Bakery founder and CEO Ruth Galloway believes that insect protein, starting with crickets, is the way forward.
“Cricket consumption has a very low carbon footprint - they use very little resources, very little water, and very little feed. As a matter of fact, our crickets are all fed on fruit and vegetable waste that was supposed to go to landfill, so it’s sort of [a circular economy],” she told FoodNavigator-Asia at the Naturally Good Expo 2019 in Sydney.
“We believe that in order to change consumer perception of eating insects, it must first be easy to use them, which is why instead of selling cricket flour like most others do, we have used this as a base to manufacture our baking blends.”
The Cricket Bakery has several baking blends available including for bread, banana bread and pancakes. All its crickets are sourced locally in Australia.
“We started with the sweeter goods first, and are now expanding into the savoury product space, into things like falafel mix and burger mix, where the cricket protein will replace the patty,” added Galloway.
She also highlighted that cricket protein consumption brings with it many health benefits.
“Crickets are a complete protein that can provide all the nine essential amino acids. It is also high in Vitamin B12, which makes it very popular with vegans and vegetarians who chose the lifestyle for ethical purposes, plus it contains high levels of calcium, iron, omega-3 and gives lots of prebiotic fibre.”
Presence and expansion
The Cricket Bakery products are currently available in New South Wales, Melbourne and Perth, but are looking to grow much further.
“We first want to secure our New South Wales and nationwide distribution, but definitely also are interested in the United States market and Asian markets like Singapore where there are lots of curious foodies,” said Galloway.
In order to do that, the company is focusing very much on education, to reduce the confusion surrounding the category, as well as increase consumer knowledge on how to use the products.
“Education has been one of our biggest challenges, and we are doing this in a four-pronged approach. We want to teach people about the insects themselves, about the health benefits, the sustainability aspect, and definitely the ease of use,” explained Galloway.
Insect protein moving forward
Some of the consumers most likely to embrace cricket baked goods were those with strong ethical and sustainability awareness, as well as those with health concerns, added Galloway
“The products are also gluten-free, dairy-free and GMO-free,” she said.
As such, she opined that as consumer awareness of sustainability and ethical issues grows, so will the market for insect protein.
“Many people are already aware of the state the environment is in and that we cannot continue this way, so are becoming more accepting of alternative sources of food like insect protein. Not only that, the fact that these products are so nutrient dense will certainly be a plus point.”
Moving forward, the dream for The Cricket Bakery is to own its own manufacturing plant.
“We’re mostly packing manually by hand now, but as demand grows via our efforts to grow nationwide, the hope is that we can eventually move into having our own manufacturing facility,” said Galloway.