The edible insect industry is growing rapidly, with many new healthy and sustainable products coming to market all the time. Now Thailand-based producer Bugsolutely has created a world's first - a snack made using ground up silkworms.
The makers of processed food containing bugs mostly use crickets and mealworms from farms in Canada, USA, Netherlands and Thailand. Bugsolutely's new Bella Pupa range is unique in that it uses silkworms, which are a byproduct of the silk industry and are fed only with leaves from mulberry trees.
The 500,000 tons produced every year in China (75% of the worldwide production) are highly underutilised: after the silk is reeled from the cocoon, they are mostly used as feed for animals. This is despite silkworms being a superfood like crickets and mealworms - packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals and protein.
Bella Pupa is unique, containing 20% silkworm powder. It is also the first edible insect product to be made in China. "We are really excited: after one year of R&D, we have a yummy snack with very good nutritional values. The product won the Innovative Award from the Food and Beverage Innovation Forum," said Massimo Reverberi, founder of Bugsolutely.
To create the new snack, Bugsolutely engaged food design firm Mill Food Intelligence. After 48 prototypes, and a number of consumer panel tests, a surprisingly delicious snack was born. The product will initially be available in two flavors: Original and Angry Sichuan.
The product is currenty available in selected online and offline stores in China, and is also available for export. Bella Pupa will initially target Shanghai but also provinces where eating insects is considered normal. The total population living in those provinces exceeds 600m people.