KYOTO -- A venture company in this western Japan city has developed a protein bar using cricket powder, promoting the new product line as a highly nutritious food and a protein source that can be produced more efficiently than beef or pork.
The "BugMo Cricket Bar" contains the powder of some 50 crickets in each product. It has two flavors, chocolate and green tea, and also includes dried fruits and nuts. The Kyoto-based company BugMo sells a total of some 1,000 bars a month to gyms and supermarkets in areas such as Kyoto, Osaka and Hyogo prefectures in western Japan, as well as to those who order through the company's website. The product with 200 kilocalories retails for 500 yen each.
Fu Nishimoto, 21, who serves as the company's chief operating officer, and Yusuke Matsui, a 32-year-old chief executive officer, are co-founders of the company. When Nishimoto, then a second-year university student, visited Uganda as a dietary adviser on a voluntary basis, she saw malnourished children who ate meat just once a month. On the other hand, Matsui went to Cambodia for work and learned that deforestation had been carried out to grow crops to feed livestock.
In the wake of such experiences in developing countries, the pair created the new product in December 2017 using farmed insects as an environmentally friendly protein source after meeting through a mutual friend.
While the company currently has a tie-up with a farm in northern Thailand to use edible crickets raised on the farm, it plans to use domestic crickets within the next several years. A factory in the western Japan prefecture of Shiga has already begun development of a system to cultivate crickets, including automated feeding.
Matsui said, "We want to establish such a system to cultivate the same quality of crickets anywhere in the world, and make use of the system in countries facing the risk of food shortages."
"There has traditionally been an insect eating culture around the world and we will rebuild that culture to fit into today's society," Nishimoto added.
For more inquiries, please contact the company via e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Japanese original by Yoko Kunimoto, Kyoto Bureau)