“Five years ago, we saw a wave of companies entering the market at a time when the production technology, marketing and branding of finished products were not mature enough.” Hargol FoodTechFounder and CEO Dror Tamir told FoodNavigator-USA.
âAs a result, we’ve seen a lot of products focus on the bugs as a gimmick rather than their real benefits.
âNow that the production technology has matured and can offer more consistent high quality ingredients and research shows the health and environmental benefits, now is the perfect time to focus the marketing strategy of the players and generate a real traction in the market. This will attract the interest of food producers and increase investor appetite. “
Feeding breakthrough with grasshoppers
Hargol FoodTech – which is carving out a distinct niche in the edible insect business by focusing on grasshoppers, rather than crickets, as ingredients in the food, beverage and supplement industries – has started producing from it. ‘a new 13,000 square foot facility in northern Israel in 2020.
“Today, the main source of food for our grasshoppers is fresh wheatgrass, an excellent source of nutrients and water but rather expensive and labor intensive â, Tamir said.
âHowever, we recently made a breakthrough with a proof of concept for feeding grasshoppers dry food. We have also developed a new genetic line of grasshoppers (non-GMO) which can be fed with dry food and drinking water from an outside source and the impact on production costs is incredible: reduction of 97% of the cost of food and more than 50% off. in labor costs.
He added: “This is also a crucial step towards fully automated production, and it will make grasshopper protein the most effective animal protein – and also more effective than most plant proteins – with a better product. , richer in nutrients, healthier for humans and more. sustainable. “
Vegetable hybrid burgers and sausages / grasshoppers, pasta, falafels …
So where is the demand coming from today?
According to Tamir: âWe work in partnership with producers across America, Europe and Asia in the form of distribution agreements and mutual development of new applications and pilots.
âWe also have a demand for whole grasshoppers from restaurants, although we are focusing our marketing efforts on powder as an ingredient and working with producers to come up with shake mixes, gummies like supplements and raw powder to mix into a variety of recipes, protein bars and more. “
In general, he says, Hargol is “focusing its marketing on performance nutrition and millennials looking for wellness / wellness products, but we are also experimenting with hybrid plant / grasshopper burgers and sausages, hybrid meat and grasshopper products. grasshoppers, bakery, pasta, yogurt and falafel.
âIn these categories, we have pilot projects with the world’s major food producers and we expect these products to reach markets in the years to come. “
“Gummies are a great way to learn about insects”
At present, however, gummy candies are a “A great way to be introduced to insects”, Tamir added. âThey’re fun, tasty and enjoyable, and as soon as you take the first bite, you forget about the new ingredient and instead the orange / strawberry flavors.
âHargol has developed partnerships with five producers who will have a dual brand combining the producer brand and that of Hargol. “
From a flavor standpoint, grasshoppers taste more bland and less distinctive than crickets, Tamir said: âGrasshoppers have an almost neutral taste and flavor. “
Grasshoppers are also “the most consumed insect in the world, consumed by 2.5 billion people in Asia, Africa and Central America and they are both kosher and halal”, “he added.
What’s most exciting about grasshoppers, however, is their nutritional profile, said Tamir, who breeds grasshoppers with 72% complete protein by dry weight (PDCAAS ~ 1) and all essential amino acids, plus omega. -3, omega-6, vitamin B3 and B12, potassium, magnesium, vitamin E, iron and zinc.