Best known for their soft chirping song that serenades after dark and Walt Disney’s beloved cartoon character Jiminy Cricket, this docile, abundant insect is set to become the next superfood.And know what? There is method in the madness. High in protein and with a lower environmental impact than soy-based protein products, crickets offer an interesting option for a protein-rich food to supplement keto-genic or gluten-free diets.
My inspiration came during five years living abroad in Switzerland. In Switzerland, there was no special local food or green movement, it was just a natural approach that had been going on for centuries, matched with a strong culinary tradition and a deep respect for the environment. There was a pragmatism to how life worked there and I wanted to put that approach to work back in the US. The way I saw it, the American diet was influencing global eating habits, so if I could chip away at some of the issues here, I could begin to create real impact. I launched Seek to address some of the greatest health and environmental issues stemming from our global food system.
Ok, but why insects?I first began experimenting with insects in 2015 and launched the brand officially in 2016.
I became fascinated with edible insects after reading a comprehensive report authored by the United Nations FAO (food and agriculture organization) on insects as the future of food and feed security. I was convinced that edible insects provided a serious path towards decreasing our reliance on animal protein. I believe there is something to be said for thousands of years of human evolution where we looked to the natural world to nourish us. There are clearly improvements needed in our food system, and looking to chemical, lab-based solutions was not the future of food that I wanted to see. So, I decided to concentrate on crickets, which come from the earth and are an important part of the past and current global human diet. My thesis was that if I could develop tasty foods with crickets, that were utterly delicious with branding that resonated, then soon the idea of crickets as food would became less scary and more normalized.
How long have you been working on it?
What has been the greatest challenge in building a conscious business/start-up?
I think the challenges that we face are the typical ones that many start up’s do with regards to seeking funding, taking risks and operating with limited support. However, we have a big challenge on top of that as we are not only creating a whole new brand, but developing a new industry as well. We have the additional task of needing to educate and excite people about cricket protein, even though it is a less familiar ingredient.
A pivotal turning point on the journey?
It has been an incredible experience to work with chefs on our new launch. This has essentially been our secret sauce as the way they are able to make magic on the plate is amazing. The recipes they have contributed and their different flavor combinations is what really takes our flours to the next level. They know the exact spice or ingredient pairing that will highlight the subtle nuttiness of the cricket protein. Due to the nonstop media attention around cricket protein, there is growing awareness of the fact that crickets are both sustainable and nutritious. However, as a culinary-driven brand, we want to show the world how delicious and versatile crickets are as an ingredient too, so we created a cookbook.
One piece of advice you wish you’d known?
Any advice for those in the conscious business world seeking funding support?
Crowdfunding! We have a Kickstarter campaign which is live through August 7th and it is a great way to share your story, build your audience and fund your idea.
Most influential book/teacher/teachings
The Third Plate by Dan Barber. He talks about the role that chefs play in a more sustainable food movement and it was the catalyst for our new launch.
Well, it is not so much as a mantra as a quote that I often come back to.
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” - Howard Thurman
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