05 Apr Grasshoppers For Breakfast
In Spring 2018, SEAL Awards connected with Dror Tamir, Co-Founder & CEO of Hargol FoodTech, to discuss the surprising and fascinating subject of sustainable protein.
Hargol FoodTech has developed a protein powder manufactured from – gulp – grasshoppers!
And although the concept may seem strange at first, during the course of our interview they convinced us that they have, in fact, created a product that is superior in every way.
HOW DID YOU DEVELOP THE CONCEPT FOR HARGOL FOOD TECH?
Hargol FoodTech was born as a combination of two visions –
Chanan Aviv, Hargol’s CTO had a vision for over 30 years that insects are part of humankind’s future as food, source of other materials and more.
This joined to my personal vision, as a serial food and nutrition entrepreneur I was looking for a healthy and sustainable protein source to solve worldwide malnutrition.
And grasshoppers are that solution:
- They provide superior nutritional content with 70% protein content;
- They are the world’s most widely eaten insect, very high in demand across Asia, Africa and Central America;
- They are the only Kosher and Halal insect;
- And they are nature’s most efficient protein source!
But no one was able to grow them on commercial scale, year-round and efficiently.
ARE GRASSHOPPERS A NATURAL PART OF THE HUMAN DIET?
The grasshoppers story is ancient – they are mentioned in the Bible, believed to be the “manna from the sky”. They saved the old Hebrews on their way in the desert and they can save humankind again, by feeding the malnourished and replacing unsustainable animal-source protein.
HOW HAVE PEOPLE RESPONDED TO THE CONCEPT OF CONSUMING GRASSHOPPERS? IS IT COMMON TO SEE RESISTANCE WHEN PEOPLE FIRST HEAR ABOUT THE CONCEPT? IF SO, HOW DO YOU OVERCOME THAT RESISTANCE?
For the first 3 years of our project the main reaction was “YUCK” – from consumers, potential business partners, investors and even our families.
A year and a half ago something changed. Maybe it was the way we told our story, maybe it was a shift in perception, and maybe it was something else – but we became a hit!
We won 10 international innovation awards, the media started covering our story in a very positive way and investors started believing in us. And even consumers started expressing interest: over 50% are willing to try and we have more orders than we can produce.
DOES YOUR PROTEIN POWDER HAVE ANY DISTINCTIVE FLAVOR OR TEXTURE THAT WOULD ALERT A CONSUMER THAT THEY WERE EATING AN “UNUSUAL” KIND OF PROTEIN?
Actually that is one of the many advantages grasshoppers have compare to other insects: they are almost neutral in taste and flavor making them best suited to develop healthy food and beverage products.
By the way, in this new insect protein industry, producers do not hide the insects – they use them as an advantage in marketing with claims they are healthier, more sustainable, they fit the Paleo diet and more.
ARE YOU PRIMARILY SELLING TO COMMERCIAL FOOD COMPANIES, OR DIRECT TO CONSUMER?
At this point of time our main focus is on farming the grasshoppers, building our capacity and continuously improving our efficiency. Therefore we collaborate with food and beverage producers in developing new products that they distribute.
ABOUT HARGOL FOOD TECH
Hargol FoodTech produces a high-quality and sustainable protein powder made from grasshoppers. Here are five excellent reasons why grasshoppers are the protein source of the future:
- Zero waste farming
- Extremely low greenhouse gas emissions
- Very low water footprint
- Year-round production in high-density, vertical farming facilities
- Up to 70% protein, with all essential amino acids
ABOUT SEAL AWARDS
The SEAL (Sustainability, Environmental Achievement & Leadership) Awards launched in 2017 and is an awards-driven environmental advocacy organization.
Our core beliefs maintain that environmental progress requires leadership, leadership deserves recognition, and recognition is a form of accountability.
The SEAL Awards organizational pillars are our:
- Business Sustainability Awards
- Environmental Journalism Awards
- Lifetime Achievement Awards
- Environmental Research Grants