Cricket One, a Vietnam based startup specializing in cricket-based protein powders and oils, has raised a new funding round from Singapore based Corecam Partners The Spoon has learned. The funding follows a seed round investment from 500 Startups and Masik Enterprise made last year.
While the amount of the funding was not disclosed, cofounder Nam Dang told The Spoon the Corecam Partners does not make investments below $1 million.
Cricket One, which made a name for itself providing cricket protein powder and oils to food manufacturers, plans to use the new funding to fuel the rollout of a new cricket-based burger patty. The company sees burgers as a logical next step to attract new consumers not accustomed to having crickets as part of their diet.
“When we were building a roadmap for cricket protein to reach a wider audience, we thought it had to be in a common form,” said Dang. “There is nothing more familiar than a burger patty.”
To make their cricket-burger more meat-like, the company adapted their ingredients to address some of the common complaints about food made from cricket powders. According to Cricket One, foods made with cricket powder can have a grainy texture some consumers don’t like, so the company removed the exoskeleton of the crickets to result in a softer, more meat-like texture and taste.
This new direction beyond powders is just the beginning. The company, which has been working with other food manufacturers to develop meat analogs using cricket protein and cricket oil, is looking to extend its own meat substitute technology beyond the burger.
“We actually want to introduce a meat analog technology using cricket as an ingredient,” Dang told The Spoon via email. ” Burger is one thing, it can be used in other application like sausage and pâté.”
The company plans to sell its new cricket burger in different countries, including the US. According to Dang, what form it takes depends on the country and its local rules and regulations. For some markets it makes more sense to ship frozen patties made in Vietnam, and for others they may license the manufacturing process to local manufacturers and sell them the ingredients to make the burger in-market.
There’s no doubt that many see cricket and insects as a much more sustainable source of protein, but can cricket-based products make a dent in the fast growing market for more sustainable meat substitutes? Possibly, but the product’s success will ultimately depend on a large part on taste and, in markets like the US, how well they can convince consumers who are normally reticent to consuming insects.
To do that, a burger seems like a good place to start.