Jiminy Crickets! Norwood cricket farm signs major deal with national grocery chain
Years ago, Darren Goldin’s occupation involving insects raised more than a few eyebrows.
“The first reaction of people was they had never heard about it before, they didn’t understand it,” Goldin said. “They always wanted to have a conversation about the, ‘eew,’ factor.”
Goldin is an advocate of entomophagy, the practice of eating insects. He’s also the co-founder of Entomo Farms, in Norwood, Ont., which produces crickets for consumption.
The product comes in the form of whole, roasted and seasoned crickets in a variety of flavours, or in a powdered form that can be added as a baking ingredient or mixed in with sauces and smoothies.
Eating bugs isn’t unique or trendy. According to the United Nations, about 80 per cent of the world’s population eats insects.
Goldin touts them as a high-protein, high-fibre, low-fat food, and says harvesting crickets produces far less greenhouse gas emissions than traditional farming.
Goldin said 100 million crickets can be housed in 2,800 square metres.
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It looks like Canada’s largest grocer agrees with Goldin.
Earlier this week Entomo Farms announced a major deal with Loblaw Companies Ltd. Loblaw’s will sell the farm’s cricket powder under its President’s Choice label.
“It’s a real validation of our category, to have an innovative company like PC and Loblaw step in and say this is the future of food, this is a good product,” Goldin said.
President’s Choice spokeswoman Catherine Thomas said in an email to Global News that the company is always looking for new tastes and flavours.
“As a leader in the industry, we wanted to be among the first to bring cricket powder to Canadians in an easy and approachable manner,” she said.
The recent announcement comes at the cusp of Entomo Farms’ growth spurt.
The company began in 2014 under the name New Millennium Farms.
Food safety assistant Jo Denley says she began working at the Norwood office about a year ago, with about three other employees.
Today that number stands at 12 workers.
“Our facility has also changed a lot, we’ve had to do a lot of renovation for the growth that we’ve experienced,” she said.
Entomo Farms is optimistic that retailers will soon start stocking their other products, namely the whole roasted, snack-sized packages of crickets.
Both she and Goldin say there’s one thing people need to try.
“Honey mustard-flavoured crickets,” Denley said with a laugh. “They’re super tasty.”
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