Cricket-made Naak bar ups the ante with crowdfund


The folks behind Naak energy bars for runners and athletes have launched a new crowdfunding campaign in an effort to ramp up production. Through the campaighn Naak will create an improved recipe with less fibers with a softer texture and a more practical packaging for better preservation.

The Montreal startup uses cricket powder as the main ingredient for its tasty energy bars. Vegetables and other natural flavouring ingredients round out the products. They say cricket powder is one of the most sustainable forms of protein.

Today the company launched the new crowdfund with a $5,000 target, but it’s already raised nearly half of that in just half a day.

“It’s a superfood, actually,” CEO William Walcker told us over the summer. He’s a triathlete who first tested his energy bars on his fellow athletes. His 60 gram Naak bars contain a bulky 10 grams of protein. “Crickets have twice the protein as beef, more calcium than milk, more iron than spinach and more vitamin B12.”

With the crowdfunding cash, Walcker and company plan to manufacture 7,500 bars. Those interested can pre-order the new Naak bars through a selection of six packs at discounted prices. The campaign runs until Dec 1. Their creative URL for the campaign is “tabarrenaak.com.”

Naak was launched in May 2016 by cofounders Antoine Domergue, computer security engineer who took part in the Business Excellence Early Career Program at Ericsson; Minh-Anh Pham, who led Groupon Quebec’s subsidiary for four years; and Walcker, who served as a manager at Groupon Goods.

In the past three or four years, more than 25 startups that sell insects as food have been launched in the U.S. and Canada, according to entomologist Aaron Dossey. Dossey’s company, All Things Bugs, sold 10,000 pounds of cricket powder in 2014 to startups like Exo, Chapul and Six Foods. It was on track to sell more than 25,000 pounds in 2015.

Moreover, a 2014 report by New Nutrition Business projected that the edible-insect industry would be worth more than 230 million pounds ($360 million) by 2019.

In Canada, entrepreneurs like Winnepeg’s Alex Drysdale and Ottawa’s Andrew Afelskie have already received coverage for creating their own cricket farm production labs to sell the powder.

Common to all these entrepreneurs including Walcker was the United Nations’ landmark Food and Agriculture Organization’s report a few years ago calling insects a major player in the future of food. At the time it said insects were already being eaten by more than two billion people worldwide.

Naak

Walcker, left, and Bug Bites founder Phillipe Poirier

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