Interview with Ross Lamond, founder of Bug Bakes
How did you get involved in the edible insects world?
I first read about using insects as a food source in my final year of university while studying international environmental law for my UN class. I came across a paper published by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, which urged western countries to start using insects as a sustainable source of protein.
Prior to this I had no idea just how unsustainable and environmentally damaging current meat production is.
Tell us about the Bug Bakes project
Bug Bakes aims to help the adoption of insects as a protein source by creating the UK’s first dog treat made with cricket flour.
We have made a simple, healthy product for dogs which brings attention to both the nutritional and environmental benefits of using insects as a protein source. One of the core themes of Bug Bakes is sustainability which is why we use organic certified ingredients and insect protein. This is also why we donate money from each bag sold to an environmental charity – The Bumblebee Conservation Trust.
Why do you bet on pet food?
Pet food made sense to me for a few reasons.
Firstly, no one seems to be doing it yet so there is a definite gap in the market.
Secondly, the market is enormous and continues to grow each year. There are roughly 8.5 million pet dogs in the UK whose owners spent a combined 434 million on treats alone in 2016!
Crickets are also a perfect nutritional match for dogs. They are an easily digestible, complete source of all 10 essential amino acids for dogs as well as being hypoallergenic.
Finally, while people today may have reservations about eating insects, based on a “yuck” factor, dogs seem to be far more open minded!
Are you ready for the market? What products do you offer?
Yes, we developed a recipe that uses six human grade organic ingredients and a dog specific blend of brewers yeast that our dog taste testers really enjoyed.
We received full DEFRA approval to create and sell the product in February 2017.
At the moment we just offer one flavour Winter Roots & Honey, however we plan to add more over the next year. The biscuits themselves are hypoallergenic and don’t use any preservatives or artificial colourings/flavourings. Good for your dogs and good for the planet!
What do you think about human entomophagy?
It’s great! I think it is without doubt the future and will cause a huge global reduction in the usage of water, land and greenhouse gas emissions from farming. I am also confident that public perception towards insects will change in the coming years as awareness is raised and more compelling insect based products are created. However, the price of these products will have to drop before it can realize it’s potential. I feel confident this will happen as the industry matures and insect farms become more common.