Updated: Mar 23, 2022
The entomology entrepreneurs of the 21st century
A growing population fuelled by unsustainable industrialised food production is damaging the earth and the only way forward in working towards a more sustainable future is to create new and innovative products for every generation to use.
In the ever expanding world of business, start-ups are continuously focused on finding solutions to everyday problems. With the world’s population predicted to expand to 9 billion by 2050, the food market is being tightened with rising demand along with quick turnovers. Undoubtedly, an increase in demand will always come at a cost, the cost being that the produce that is created is deeply unsustainable.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said in a recently published article that “the pace of technology and business change in the food system continues to accelerate. People are buying food in new ways….These changes are affecting the way people purchase food and the way food businesses operate.”
Dr Geoffrey Knott, the managing director & co-founder at HOP, spoke with Dr Rodriguez’s Entrepreneurship in the Hospitality, Tourism and Events Industry students, at Surrey University, to explain to the future business and gastronomy leaders of tomorrow on how HOP was established, and the progressive ideas that led HOP into becoming a game-changer in the world of edible insects within the UK market.
With edible insects being touted as the new alternative to animal farming, it is obvious that they are the future of food. Dr Knott explained that prior to HOP being established he “looked into the scientific research of insects and saw that they are more sustainable than beef, chicken and pork farming. Alongside this, they have far higher nutritional value”.
When asked how sustainability is maintained when feeding the crickets, Dr Knott explained that “we use excess food from restaurants such as fruit and vegetables that would’ve been thrown away, and then feed them to our insects who we then use as a high quality ingredient in our protein bars and protein powders.”
With 2,000 species of edible insects across the world, it is clear that there is room for expansion within the farming industry as “there are only 25 companies in the UK and 130 in Europe”, Dr Knott noted.
Along with rising awareness for edible insects, the business and gastronomy students at Dr Knott’s lecture had a range of opinions about insect based products with one student saying “I have never seen products which contain insects, I have only heard of people eating just insects”. Another student lin
ked in to saying “...because of our culture, we are not used to seeing insects within our products which creates skepticality and neophobia”.
As the UK’s edible insect industry continues to grow, some students were more open minded to approaching edible insects based products with a business student explaining that “I am always willing to try something new, it has a lot of benefits…it is quite new and it is an experience when eating the product and you can share that experience with friends. With HOP, it is the experience itself in knowing you are enjoying the insect based product that is the key feature.”