After some experimenting, Nicolezander Garza, Valerie Yoda and Ricardo Delgado have created an insects-based food product company called
. The team, which won third place in the Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge, says the nutritional value of insects might win over more than just intrepid diners.
Last fall, they came across a TED Talk by Dutch scientist Marcel Dicke who suggested that insects are higher in protein than meats and fish, and can also be rich in other nutrients, such as copper, iron, magnesium and zinc.
“It is very inexpensive in terms of protein. Compared to beef, crickets, for example, have less fats and higher protein,” Garza said.
“The market as a whole is relatively new,” Delgado said. “It is going to grow exponentially.”
Senzu is one of a handful of insect-based food companies, but most focus on crickets and protein bars. Senzu’s menu would go further, including several types of insects and more items, such as cookies.
“The market is booming,” Garza said. “We want to hop on that and amplify it more.”
Most companies selling insect protein bars aim their products toward the health-concious and paleo dieters whose meals are heavy in protein, but Senzu wants to get insect alternatives in all households and thinks cookies might be a palatable beginner snack.
“We’re not stopping there,” Delgado said. “We’re not just thinking about active people, but also people with nutritional deficiencies.”
Their hope is that a child would be more interested in eating a cookie for certain nutrients instead of taking vitamins.
Now that most of their menu is finalized, the entrepreneurs will work to get the business legally established and FDA-approved. They also want to soon launch a Kickstarter campaign to generate funding and interest.
Once the business is established, they say they hope to start out selling online and then through Amazon.com and at athletic events.
The plan is to also sell the bars in natural-food stores and CrossFit-type gyms — places that draw people mindful of a healthy lifestyle.
But their biggest caveat will be getting buyers past the “ew” factor of snacking on insects.