HOP founder Matt answers questions related the legislative changes affecting the sale of crickets in the UK.
Before Brexit, we (UK insect start ups) and the FSA had their own clear interpretation of Novel Food’ EU regulations, which meant that we could sell insect-based foods in the UK. Since Brexit, insects are now not ‘authorised’ for sale in the UK nor are they a regulated product. This means we cannot secure the insurance coverage we need for our products because insects are ‘unregulated’. We cannot sell in the UK right now. Matt answers some questions to address the issue, talk about HOP and our plans for the future.
How did you come up with the idea to start a business in edible insects?
I believe I had watched a documentary on alternative sustainable foods on the BBC and then discovered how incredible both the nutritional and sustainable benefits of insects (particularly cricket powder were). In hindsight it was pure chance and combined my passion for sustainability and nutrition.
What made you want to turn that into a business?
At the time there were not many companies in the market so I believed it was a great opportunity to potentially build a business with first-mover advantages over the rest of the competition. Having read some research reports I also discovered that this had the potential to become a very big market in the future given the shifting trends towards veganism and sustainably sourced products.
How has the current situation affected you guys and HOP?
It has been less than ideal as it came at a time when we were becoming stocked in a large number of online and physical locations across the UK. The situation has really stopped us in our tracks and caused us a great deal of disappointment due to the lack of progress we are able to make currently. We have a ready made product that our customers love and we’re unable to sell it due to some bureaucracy and political failings.
So what is the current situation with those products?
Currently Brexit has made us put production on hold as edible insects are no longer approved for human consumption in the UK. We are however confident that this will change in the near future and we will be able to sell our products again.
How will you overcome this hurdle?
We’re hoping we can raise the issue and build some media attention to it along with the other edible insect companies which are in similar boats. As a small start-up there is only so much we can do, but we are part of a great community with Woven Network (group of UK based edible insect companies) so we are hoping that together we can all push through changes so we can sell again.
What are your future goals for hop?
We have massive plans for HOP. We want to become the premier edible insect nutrition brand in the UK as well as the world. We have some work to do to get there, but I believe we have a great team to make it happen.