Ed­mon­ton duo wants you to love bug bis­cuits

U of A sci­en­tists-turned-en­trepreneurs try­ing to make in­sect pro­tein a di­etary sta­ple

StarMetro Edmonton - - SPORTS - CLAIRE THEOBALD

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

Al­berta.

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

CODIE MCLACH­LAN/STARMETRO ED­MON­TON

Susie Win­ters and Vanessa Traub chat with Sil­via Ron­zani of Camola Sus­tain­able Foods dur­ing the 124 Street Grand Mar­ket in Ed­mon­ton.

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