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Who are you?

I am Francesco Majno, co-founder and CMO of Crické—a new-food brand specializing in insect-based savory snacks. We use cricket powder to create healthy snacks, high-in-sustainable-protein and incredibly delicious. Insect-based nutrition combined with the familiar shape of Crické snacks aims at helping people overcoming the taboo of eating insects. I have a MA in Communication Design, and worked for 5 years as Information Designer and Project Manager in business consultancy and international design firms. In 2017, I decided to co-found Crické to disrupt the EU’s healthy food market with insect-based products.

Where are you located?

London is where Crické and our snack production is based. Market Data are particularly tempting in the UK which has the largest and fastest-growing savoury snack market in Western Europe—it is worth £2.8 Billion. Snacking is extremely popular here –96% of Brits eat between mealtimes— and millennials are shifting towards more nutritionally balanced and sustainable snacks.

What is your day job?

My role involves working on the brand’s marketing and communication strategy.

What kinds of stuff do you make?

We create savoury snacks made with cricket powder and all-natural ingredients. These nutrient-dense crackers have more than 22% of protein, a great crunchy texture and are outrageously tasty! They are: high in protein, high in vitamin B12, dairy free, with no added sugar, made with extra virgin olive oil and, of course, crickets.

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We deliver insect-based nutrition in a very discreet form. Our food choices have a profound impact on the planet and, at Crické, we believe that insects as an alternative source of sustainable protein can help in reducing our ecological footprint.

How did you get started?

We’re four friends who decided to give real shape to the idea of edible insects as tasty snacks. We believe that the best way to achieve it is to incorporate insects into a familiar and reliable form, like everyday snacks. At the beginning of this adventure, one of our main sources of motivation and inspiration have been the FAO’s paper ‘Edible insects – Future prospects for food and feed security’.

The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations estimates that at least 2 billion people around the world consider edible insects part of their diet. Insects are a great source of high-quality protein, fats, minerals and micronutrients, such as vitamin B12. With over 2,000 different edible insects species listed worldwide, there is an unbelievable variety overall. Mopane, sago and bamboo worms, termites, grasshoppers, and ants, just to mention a few of them.

Among insects, crickets are playing the leading role. They have a high content of protein and they are a complete protein source, containing all the essential amino acids. Crickets farming is highly sustainable compared to traditional source of protein such as beef.

Livestock farming contributes to 18 per cent of human-produced greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. This is more than the combined emissions produced from all transportation systems globally. Crickets have a low environmental footprint requiring substantially less land and water for production. They multiply very fast having a high reproduction, don’t need much feed and are extremely efficient in converting waste to high-quality protein. As a direct comparison, to produce 1kg of cricket protein requires 1.7kg of feed, to produce the same amount of cattle protein requires 10kg of feed. Crickets require 0,05% of the water that cows do to produce the same amount of proteins. The estimated amount of water needed to produce 100 g of beef is about 2,200 lt, taking into account the huge amount of water needed for forage crops. The amount of water needed to produce the same amount of cricket powder would be around 2000x times less. One-third of emerged lands are already being used for meat production. On average, 200sqm of land are used to produce 1kg of beef. For insects, 15sqm are enough. Have a look at our infographic on Why eating edible insects is important?

The question emerged: how to incorporate their nutritional and environmental benefits into new foods without having people noticing it? That’s when we started to vision our insect-based snacks.

What is something you’ve made that really stands out, that you’re proud of.

We have launched Cricke’s new product line in March 2019, we have clients like Trivago, we’re selling in more than 20 online and offline retailers, and discussing with multiple retailers and distributors. What we are the most proud of is that Borough Market showcased Crické as a forward-thinking food brand tackling one of the world’s most compelling challenges. The Food Futures Market has been a great occasion to have hundreds of people discussing on edible insects as a promising food source and trying our products.

What do you have on your horizon?

We believe insect-based snacks will gain popularity in the next few years as a healthy snack option. Since the launch of our product line, we have been focused on expanding our online and offline channels. We’re planning on extending the line with new products. To make our plan and route to market real and position Crické in the EU market, we are raising £250K to boost marketing, sales and new product development activities. The plan foresees a future round in 2020 to consolidate the business in UK and start selling our delicious products in other European countries (Germany, France, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Italy, etc.).

What is something you’d like to work with but haven’t yet?

Future is exciting! We aim to explore new formats to make insect-based nutrition more and more accessible for everyone. The opportunities and the flavour combinations are endless: crackers and crispbreads, chips and crisps, cookies and pasta. We foresee the stigma towards insects as food will be erased from our minds. We want to make it happen thanks to our healthy snacks.

Any advice for people reading this?

When we think of food, we know for certain what is edible and what is not; what we like and what we don’t like. We create our map of food and the extent of its boundaries is determined by our life experience. Categories are crystal clear when closely connected with our direct experience. But when they’re not, we might doubt and seek to redefine them.

We know now that our eating habits have a profound environmental impact and the time has come to reshape our map of food: Eat Insects, Change the world!

Where to find us

www.crickefood.com

Instagram (www.instagram.com/crickefood/)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/crickefood/)

Monthly newsletter (http://eepurl.com/duQelP)