From stadium concession stands to DIY mealworm farms, edible insects have been making headlines in the last couple of years. But bugs are not just another viral food trend—they could potentially be the answer to the world’s growing food security problems. Edible insects are, after all, a sustainable food source that is both as good for us as it is for the planet.
Two companies—Exo and Tiny Farms—hope to leverage the humble cricket and make it the next great protein. But while many cultures around the world eat insects, Western countries are finding the concept a little harder to swallow. Could companies like cricket protein bar producer Exo and cricket flour supplier Tiny Farms be the next step towards bugs in our diet?
Gabi Lewis and his former college roommate (now business partner) at Brown University, Gregg Sewitz, have a combined passion for health and nutrition, which led them down an unexpected path: creating a sustainable food source.
“The idea of eating a healthy, high-protein convenient snack is no longer confined to niche audiences […]. For us, the challenge is transitioning from passionate early adopters who are willing to try something strange to somebody who’s less adventurous.”
— Gabi Lewis of Exo Protein on the challenge of breaking psychological barriers in Western cultures
“All insects have different flavour profiles. As the broader trends of acceptance shift and people get more interested and more sophisticated as consumers, we’ll start to see more [happen]. ”
— Andrew Brentano of Tiny Farms talking about the untapped potential of insects as flavour enhancers
There are currently five flavours in Exo’s offering: Cocoa Nut, Banana Bread, PB&J, Blueberry Vanilla and Apple Cinnamon.
“The idea that one of the most famous rappers of all time is investing in and consuming insect protein […]. It’s cool. And when people hear stuff like that it just lends more weight to what we’re doing.”
— Gabi Lewis of Exo Protein speaks about their investors, including Nas, Timothy Ferriss and Dentsu Inc.
Gabi and Exo Protein embrace healthy competition in their emerging space because it ultimately opens people’s minds to insects as a reliable source of protein.