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Bright Idea: Cricket Pasta Sauce

Cricket cavatelli, anyone?


 
A meal with Gryllies' sauce made of cricket flour. (Gryllies)

A meal with Gryllies’ sauce made of cricket flour. (Gryllies)

Great minds do not think alike, and that’s why universities and colleges are the mother of inventions. Click here for the rest of our Bright Ideas series. Click here for the rest of our Campus Food series.


The tagline on Gryllies’ website says the company makes “delicious, future-friendly protein alternatives. P.S. they’re made from crickets.” Gryllies—the result of a Queen’s University initiative designed to help students create a company—launched in Kingston, Ont., last summer with a very big agenda: “The inspiration came from wanting to solve the problem of food sustainability. Which is, of course, a huge issue,” says Esther Jiang, an environmental science grad who is now the company’s CEO.

The team (partner Natasha Baziuk has since moved on) settled on cricket-infused products when they discovered the bugs require far less water, feed and land than livestock to produce nutritious protein. Then they found a Peterborough-area supplier of cricket flour, which Jiang says has the look and feel of cocoa powder.

READ: Queen’s University | Kingston, Ont. | Founded 1841

Fast-forward more than a year. With $15,000 in prize money earned in a Queen’s business pitch competition, Gryllies is now being incubated at Food Starter in Toronto, a food business accelerator that will help the company commercialize and sell its product.

While it is still in the taste-testing phase, about 50 jars of a prototype pasta sauce have been sold at farmers’ markets. Jiang hopes to launch, in early 2017, commercial sales of the “tomato-based pasta sauce enriched with protein, vitamin B12 and iron, from your favourite bug,” before offering a wider range of cricket-infused food.


 

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