Edmonton duo wants you to love bug biscuits
U of A scientists-turned-entrepreneurs trying to make insect protein a dietary staple
Ever find a fly in your soup? Two Edmonton entrepreneurs are hoping that’s just the beginning.
“Our company is about edible insects,” said Silvia Ronzani, chief operating officer and co-founder of Camola Sustainable Foods, in an interview Thursday. “We incorporate insect flour in all our products, and we do it because it’s a very sustainable ingredient and it’s very rich in protein. It’s a win-win — you get the protein that you need and the nutrients you need, and you don’t impact too much on the environment.”
The inspiration came to Ronzani and her partner, Claudio La Rocca, while they were both studying insect ecology at the University of
While their interest in insects started on a more cerebral level, Ronzani said they were immediately taken by the potential for insects as an ingredient when they got the
chance to eat crickets for the first time.
The pair started experimenting with recipes and, in September 2017, started Camola Sustainable Foods as a way to share their passion for
eating bugs with the rest of the world.
Their products are made using insect flour, which is purely insects — mainly crickets sourced from a farm in Ontario — dried and finely ground.
“It’s all ground up, so you never have any texture from the insects. We incorporate this flour into all of our recipes, and our recipes are very tasty,” Ronzani said, adding they have been experimenting with foods people are generally familiar with, including biscotti and chips, as a way of making the ingredient more approachable.
They hope to see more people incorporate insects as a regular part of their diet, Ronzani said, because on top of being nutritious, insects are an incredibly sustainable ingredient.
“They are very efficient,” Ronzani said. “Their life cycle is fairly fast — for crickets, it’s about six weeks. They convert almost all the food that you give them into protein. Just to give you an idea, to get one kilogram of crickets you need 1.7 kilograms of feed, whereas for one kilogram of meat you need about 10 kilograms of feed.” Advantages of insect farming at thestar.com/edmonton
Susie Winters and Vanessa Traub chat with Silvia Ronzani of Camola Sustainable Foods during the 124 Street Grand Market in Edmonton.