Interview with Raphael Dupriez, co-founder of Little Food
Tell us shortly about Little Food and how you got involved in the edible insects industry
Maïté and me started 4 years ago, hands in the mud and hope in the mind. As young bio-engineers coming out of the studies we wanted to do something great in our life. As the job market was not so exciting, we decided to dedicate ourselves 100% to our project. We really believe that the edible insect industry is part of the solution for an ecological transition.
We tried to build our company in an innovative way (cooperative, co-creation, circular economy, etc). It was not easy at the begining and we are still struggling every day to succeed but we are already a long way from the starting point. We have now four years experience in cricket breeding, two years experience in selling insect products in shops and a team of four associates.
What products are you marketing at the moment?
Right now we sell smoked crickets, tomato and garlic-spiced crickets and natural-flavour dried crickets to about 100 shops in Belgium, mostly organic and local shops. With our recent development (new farm), we’re ready to launch other products in september, but it ‘s a surprise!
We now also sell insects and flour to other manufacturers.
What’s the role of urban agriculture for the future of our food production system?
Urban agriculture increases the well being of citizens, bringing green, pure air and fresh food in the city. Being city-based and organizing visits of its breeding farm (call “The future farm experience”), Little Food also help re-building the link between consumers and food. For us this point is very important because many people don’t know anything about food production even though they eat food every day…
Is the edible insects market growing fast enough in your country to satisfy soon the “need for profits” of the industry?
We can not be sure at 100%, but the answer is yes.
We didn’t reach the break-even point yet but we believe that we have some good perspective. At the moment there is not enough market for everyone in this business, but on the other hand each company in our sector contributes to build this market. We are happy to see so many initiatives. We really feel that the market is evolving since the beginging of our activities. Now, in Belgium, it’s not considered crazy anymore to eat insects. Even tough a lot of people still feel disgusted at the idea, the consumers’ acceptance is growing.
What are your projects for the near future?
Launching new products, automating some parts of the production, supplying new businesses with our crickets and flour, applying to the EFSA with our Novel Food dossier for Acheta Domestica which is almost done. Sounds enough for a near future.