Interview with Malena and Jessica, Dare-to-eat/Wholi foods cofounders
We begin our interviews with this usual question: how did you get involved in the edible insects world?
Co-founder Malena has always been fascinated by the potential of edible insects in terms of nutrition and sustainability and early on began to focus her studies on entomophagy. She wrote her thesis on the livelihoods of termite production and consumption in Kakamega (Kenya), documenting how termites constitute a vital income and source of protein and zinc. Back in Denmark in 2016, the two co-founders, Malena and Jessica, meet and begin to talk about insects. Jessica has a background in business and is passionate about creating business solutions to tackling global problems. Edible insects seemed like a perfect case for working with a sustainable business solution, so we began experimenting in the kitchen. We decided to make products that appeal to Western consumers, without visible wings and legs and therefore we started integrating the insect powder into different well-known foods.
What products are you marketing?
Dare Squares is a range of healthy snacks that contain crickets and buffalo worms. We only use high-quality and organic ingredients to make products that give people a positive first time experience with insects. There are 250 worms and 60 cricket in one bag of snacks, respectively, so they are full of protein, iron, vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids.
The three versions are:
Chilli, chocolate and crickets;
Peanut Butter and buffalo Worms;
Chocolate, peppermint and crickets;
We have also made a version with no chocolate and a little more insect-protein, which will be in the form of a protein bar. Buff bar is mainly targeted for athletes.
Why did you choose to bet on sweet entoproducts?
We wanted to start out with a product that most people like, to give people a good first time experience with insects. If people have a whole worm or cricket and they don’t like the taste (usually this is a psychological thing, but still it is valid), chances are that they will not eat it again. As people begin to taste that insects are delicious and can be prepared in many different ways, we can begin to make many different kinds of products.
Where do you get the insects from?
Right now we source our insects mainly from the Netherlands, as they have a well-developed production facility. More and more farmers locally are also beginning to produce insects so we are looking forward to a market expansion.
What’s your development plan for the next two years?
We have a range of different products in the pipeline including Buff Bar, a protein bar targeted especially for athletes due to the high amount of protein, vitamins and minerals, as well as a meat-replacement product. Follow us for more updates!
What’s your position in relation to the new EU regulation on novel foods?
It is great that the EU has finally taken an official stance towards insects and began to work on a more transparent regulation. Hopefully this will soon mean that the market for edible insects has a chance to develop faster.