New startup brings you crunchy bugs in between your crunches
Could crickets be the next tasty treat in Manitoba?
Next time you're trying to bulk up, a Manitoba man wants you to think … crickets.
Alex Drysdale, originally from Stony Mountain, is starting a new Winnipeg business, riding on the backs of insects.
Crik Nutrition will specialize in the creation of protein powder, made primarily of the unorthodox ingredient of crickets.
Drysdale describes the generation of the idea as "more of a fluke."
"I just saw an article one day about cricket protein bars and decided to do a little research because I was interested in trying them myself," he said in an interview Wednesday.
And so the experimentation began.
"Naturally, I just got on Google and started searching around for protein bars," he said.
"I contacted them, ordered some crickets to my house. Just some powdered crickets. And just started making some concoctions myself at home and it turned out to be pretty decent."
Drysdale began the hunt for a backer. He says he contacted about 40 companies that could partner with him for the creation of the protein powder and of all of them, only one expressed any kind of interest.
As for why companies weren't interested, Drysdale said it was not a matter of the discussion including insects, but because crickets are a more expensive form of protein.
"I think it was partly that, partly that they didn't know if I was serious or not," Drysdale joked.
The plan is for the powdered crickets to be sent from the cricket farm to the supplement manufacturer. There, the product will be created, inspected and then shipped back to Drysdale for distribution.
Starting on April 22, the product will be launching through Kickstarter so that pre-order funds and demand can be determined before Drysdale sinks money into an order with the manufacturer.
'The meat, the organs and the bones'
The main ingredient in the protein powder is of course crickets, but it also includes some other ingredients like flax seed and vanilla.
"It smells really good, it smells like vanilla," Drysdale said.
The smell is a good method of swaying doubters and naysayers, he added.
On the Crik Nutrition web site, Drysdale says, "My goal isn't to get filthy rich and sell this company. I'm really into crickets now after all I've learned about them. Everything I make is going back into the research and development of new products. I really want to see crickets become mainstream, cause the benefits really almost seem to good to be true."
CBC's Up to Speed host Ismaila Alfa asked what exactly those benefits were.
"There's the meat, the organs and the bones and everything combined," Drysdale said.
"Compared to beef, let's say, it's got five times the magnesium, three times the iron, it's very high in calcium. There's as much B12 in it as salmon and it's also very high in omega-3."
Saving the family farm
Drysdale admits his motive to starting this business remains with the family farm in Stony Mountain.
As it comes time for his family to sell the farm this summer, Drysdale said if this business goes well, he hopes to be the buyer.
"It's nice growing up in an environment like that, getting to run around through the bush like that and play all day," he said.
Perhaps one day, he says if the business takes off, the farm can be home to many, many crickets.