Interview with Dr Geoffrey Knott, Co-Founder of HOP
How you guys got involved in the edible insects world?
We were seeing more and more products come onto the sports market that were trading off between the health and environmental benefits. A product was either great nutritionally but cost the Earth in some way, or visa versa, great for sustainability but at a cost to our needs. We believed there was a better way, and there is! Uniquely, edible insects provide both benefits.
Tell us briefly about HOP project
The idea to create a business around edible insects was an extremely novel concept at the time despite most of the Eastern world having done so for a long time. There was a lot of proving to be done and people needed convincing once they’d overcome the perceived ‘disgust’ factor. This is why we chose a protein bar – sports people are familiar with this type of product. Once we formulated the first prototypes with cricket powder, dates, walnuts, cocoa, coconut oil, rice snaps, etc. we validated HOP BAR with sports people, showed it to nutritionists and investors, and pitched for start up funding.
What products are you marketing?
At the end of 2019 we were able to bring our first product to market HOP BAR Chocolate Nutmix (available also on Amazon), and sign on our first major retailers. We continue to grow our activities in the sports market and sponsor enthusiastic and talented HOP Ambassadors & Athletes who really identify with what we are doing. It’s a fast-growing and brilliant team. We also retail HOP Powder for the home-cooking market, which is 100% cricket powder. It’s a much more versatile product that offers great flexibility of use to new customers.
Are you planning to widen your offer with other kind of products?
Yes. With our business and research partnerships we aim to provide a wide variety of foods and nutritional supplements using many types of edible insect species to address general and specific health needs. We believe that food is medicine.
Where do you get your insects from?
HOP is supported by a range of suppliers from around the world in addition to our in-house activities, and each supplier provides various benefits.
Are you witnessing an incresing consumers interest in edible insects products?
Yes, we are discovering that the UK public are gradually becoming more aware of edible insect consumption in general, and learning about the specific environmental and health benefits.
What’s your plans for the future?
HOP is a science-based business actively contributing to the latest research on edible insects through partnerships with UK and international universities. The research projects we have established and support are in sports exercise, nutrition, psychology, and food science. The outcomes from these projects will provide a better understanding into how the human body metabolises insect food sources, supporting UK research and researchers, and complementing HOP’s scientific foundations.
HOP is not just a cricket protein bar designed to be a healthier and more sustainable alternative to other brands on the market, we aspire to be much more than that. Our aim is to change modern nutritional and cultural trends forever. We’ll give you one of many examples…
Women over 50 with low-magnesium diets are at greater risk of developing osteoporosis. Let’s say you’ve visited your GP or nutritionist who has now advised you to eat foods high in magnesium or to take additional supplements. Well, there is an edible insect, the mopane caterpillar, which contains 8-10x more magnesium by volume than wild salmon or beef. Now imagine that you’re equipped with this new knowledge and health advice, next time at your coffee shop you grab your latte plus the ‘caterpillar-fortified croissant’. That’s our vision.