GathrFoods | Why Crobars are more than just bouncing! August 30 2016
We speak with Christine Spliid, founder and owner of Gathr Foods (aka CroBar) !
Where you first encountered the idea of insects for food?
I had seen firsthand for the first time how people in Cambodia were eating such a vast array of insects when I travelled there two years ago and was overwhelmed by how prevalent eating insects is. I didn’t immediately connect the dots, but I follow food trends closely and noticed how Dutch and American companies were slowly starting to incorporate insects into food in different ways, and when I started researching the environmental benefits, I was sold.
What made you decide to start Gathr Foods?
I was amazed to learn how much sense it makes to include insects in the diet after doing some research myself. The arguments for are so powerful, and the barriers, being mainly psychological, really appealed to me as my background is in Psychology. I thought that it would be such a worthwhile challenge to try and change people’s mindsets, and I intuitively felt that promoting cricket flour is the first step on this journey. I am so excited to be part of a movement which makes people’s lives better in a sustainable, long- term way.
What are you all working on now?
We are currently working on two new product launches, which will be a Raspberry & Cacao, as well as a Coffee & Vanilla bar.
How has the response been to the product?
Most people get it, they may be initially surprised, but after a taste and a bit of introduction to the environmental and health benefits, very few are still sceptical. I also feel that the proportion of people having heard of the movement has increased a lot since only 6 months ago. Even many vegetarians are happy to try, especially if they were following a vegetarian lifestyle because of environmental concerns.
Can you share a little about the UK regulations and what you all had to do to bring the product to market?
For years the marketing of insects in UK and EU has been a grey zone, as it was not relevant before, that law surrounding it was unclear. However the European Parliament issued a statement in October 2015, that insects will become a Novel Food, so by 2018 we all need permission to sell insect-based food products. I am a member of Woven to facilitate this, and we are working closely together to submit our application. Until then, we can still market our products freely.
Any trials or triumphs you can share from your journey?
I was very concerned the days leading up to the statement of the European parliament, as we didn’t know what the outcome would be, and worst case scenario would have meant we would have to stop trading. Triumphs include seeing my first Crobar popping out of the assembly line in the factory, also, of course, reaching my goal of 10.000 GBP on Kickstarter, as well as getting investment from private investors last summer.
Any advice for other Entrepreneurs wanting to join this industry?
You need to be quick, persistent, and super excited about your product. Try and branch out and launch a different cricket flour product, so we can help grow the field together.
What do you love about the Crobar?
On the taste, well we work with a UK manufacturer who only makes raw nutrition bars, and he only used very high- quality ingredients, many of them organic, such as all the cocoa/ cacao ingredients. We also get the best quality cricket flour we can, which again, is organic. The raspberries and coffee in the news bars are of very high quality and come with traceability reports, so we're really not compromising on what we put into the bars.
More About Christine and the CroBars!
I’m Christine Spliid, originally from Denmark but now based in London. CROBAR cricket flour energy bars started as an idea which combines my passion for endurance running, healthy food, travelling and sometimes, the unconventional.
I have travelled to more than 40 countries, and was fascinated with the number of people in especially South East Asia, who eat insects on a daily basis. Many of the insects look similar to shrimps, so it did seem strange that eating insects is almost unheard of in the West.
Learning about the health benefits let me to explore the idea of introducing insects back at home, and having studied Psychology & Business at Warwick University, I was immediately fascinated with the challenge of changing people’s perceptions and attitudes towards eating insects.
The result: UK’s first cricket flour energy bars, which I named Crobar; ‘Cr’ for crickets, ‘cro’ rhyming with pro for protein, and the association with the tool crowbar.
It is indisputable that current meat production is unsustainable, and we need to seriously look at other food and protein sources. Farming insects is much more sustainable than farming cattle and chicken, and there is no rational reason why we don’t already eat insects in the West.
By making the crickets into flour, it becomes an extremely versatile ingredient, which can be used not just in cricket flour energy bars, but in so many recipes. There are more than 2000 edible insect species available, and the kind of food products that could incorporate insect flour is only limited by your imagination.