I am here at the Sustainable Brands conference in Detroit, MI and I am learning what’s in the works for corporate sustainability! I got to sneak away from the Special K booth to attend a session on how to change food norms in today’s society. One of the speakers on the panel was Rose Wang, the CEO and founder of CHIRPS cricket protein chips! Her story was amazing! She and her roommate from Harvard came up with the idea and even pitched it on Shark Tank. Check out the website for even more product detail, but I wanted to bring forward a few highlights that I thought were most notable in their journey, especially from a nutrition and sustainability standpoint.
1.) Main target: Kids
They chose kids as their main consumer target for a few reasons. They most likely do not have bias or negative feelings towards insects, and often think that it’s cool! Unlike older adults that may be highly skeptical. It’s also usually hard to get young kids interested in meats or other protein containing foods, so incorporating it into a carbohydrate food like chips was a win-win and allowed kids to increase protein intake while enjoying a tasty snack.
2.) Why chips?
Chips provide a crunch for most people that associate bugs with being ooey gooey. Implementing the cricket flour into a chip was most ideal for success.
3.) How crickets provide reassurance for those concerned about animal welfare? (thought this was very interesting)
Crickets just “go to sleep”, there is no slaughtering of crickets and they don’t know who their young is. For those concerned about these things, sourcing protein from crickets may be more convincing. They are also used to being in swarms and in tight quarters, this is how they natural operate, so there isn’t guilt in raising many thousands in one area. However, Rose stated they have had problems with cultural groups like Buddhists claiming “why would I eat 2000 souls when I could just eat one.”
4.) How are crickets and bugs more sustainable?
Again the focus on being able to raise many in a small area of space. They also are able to feed off of food waste, which is a win-win as well! There doesn’t need to be billions of dollars spent on production agriculture in feeding bugs, they can sustain on their own very well.
- Full of protein (as much as an egg white per serving)
- 30% less fat than regular chips
- All natural
So after all that…what do you think? Is this something you could get behind, or totally off the wall?! I think the idea is GENIUS and am inspired by the creative thinking in regard to nutrition and sustainable efforts. I still need to try them, BUT I think these are great developments in changing the food system!