[14 February/Food Navigator USA]

Vietnamese start-up Cricket One argues that with the growing demand for alternative protein there is a significant potential market for efficiently farmed, protein packed bugs.  The co-founder, Bicky Nguyen, said that consumers are finding out about new products more quickly than ever and while crickets will never completely replace traditional animal proteins they do provide another option that will become more attractive as prices come down.  The challenge for the cricket farming industry to date has been that production systems are not very scalable and costs have consequently been high.  Cricket-One has the ambition to become the leading premium supplier to the market making cricket protein more affordable and accessible to the mass market.  The company is using by-products from cassava as food for their crickets and has kitted out abandoned shipping containers as intensive breeding units, using an approach developed in association with experts from Wageningen University.  The company has full traceability, the container units are provided to cassava farmers together with crickets and the farmers provide the labour and the feed biomass.  The crickets are collected and processed at a central facility before being sold to customers producing snack foods but also pet food