Christine Spliid, Founder of Crobar – Award winning Protein Bar made with Cricket Flour.

In case you hadn’t noticed there’s was a real emergence in insect based snack products in 2016 and the trend is set to continue in 2017. From BBQ flavoured mealworms to pasta made with Locust or Grasshopper flour, there’s now a huge variety of high protein insect snacks to tantalise your taste buds. There’s even a wine and insect pairing guide! Along with certain health benefits, insects are seen as a more environmentally-friendly method of food production ( if you’re interested you can learn why here on the UK’s Network for Insects as Food & Feed’s website).

Even if this seems like a culinary step too far, out of curiosity alone most people try these unconventional snacks (they make great bar snacks). Rest assured it won’t be a ‘I’m a celebrity get me out of here’ moment as the snacks tend to be dried, crispy and infused with flavour. I write this piece with some degree of humour, as being of African origin the concept of insects as an ingredient in cooking or as a snack is pretty normal to me. Insects are also widely consumed in Asia and Latin America (apparently nearly two billion people worldwide already supplement their diet with them).

Christine Spliid and I chuckle about this as we discuss Crobar, her award winning Protein Bar made with Cricket Flour. It becomes clear very quickly, Christine is passionate about pushing the boundaries of what is considered normal. Christine tells me she loves travelling (having visited over 40 countries) and cooking, so when she first tasted insects she embarked on a journey of discovery as to their environmental and health benefits. After much research, Christine saw a gap in the UK snack market and took the plunge to launch a new exciting brand.

                                                                          “It’s delicious, healthy and sustainable”.

Christine explains that Cricket flour has environmental, health and beauty benefits.  Crobars’ contain cricket flour and are free from gluten, soy, dairy and have no added sugars or sweeteners (thumbs up for snackers with certain intolerances’ and allergies).

                                         “We use a mix of serious education and a whole lot of fun to market the bars”

One of my first observations was that Christine presents the Crobar very well using instagram, given how unusual (in the UK) the ingredient is. It must be challenging to present insects as edible, tasty and attractive! In my experience, using social media as a business tool can be a minefield (particularly if you have never used it before). Although new to social media when starting out, Christine explains she learnt very quickly to engage actively on social media with customers. After a few months, she really began to enjoy doing so. { Find out how to use social media to grow your food brand }

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Just before we finished, I asked Christine what advice she had to share with other founders from her incredible journey.

  1. Be persistent. Christine looks back fondly over the challenges she experienced in the early days ranging from understanding EU/UK legislation on using insects in food production to securing a manufacturer willing to help her produce the bars. It’s no surprise then she says persistence is vital particularly if you are pioneering a new and interesting concept or product. { Find out how to be persistent despite business challenges and disappointment }
  2.   Be helpful.  This is an interesting one but Christine explains the more helpful you are to others, the more helpful they are likely to be to you (warm introductions, sharing distributor details and tools etc).
  3.  Never say ‘no’ to a meeting with anyone. You just never know what you might learn, who you may meet and what opportunity may arise. She makes a point that balance is needed as your business grows. { Meet other Entrepreneurs and Founders in the food and drink industry }
  4. Listen to your gut.  Develop the ability listen to your gut when making decisions. People will always have lots of comments, feedback and opinions. This can be helpful at times but ultimately you have to make a decision you are comfortable with.

Thank you Christine for sharing your top tips with us and we look forward to seeing where you take Crobar next!

You can find Crobar on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

You can meet many entrepreneurs just like Christine here.  If you have an interesting food concept and need help taking it to the next level, check out the best masterclasses to help you make it happen! 

Did you find  this article interesting? Want more free resources or even some specific assistance with a business challenge or milestone? Book a place on one of our masterclasses http://bit.ly/2q3hu0t to get your business on the right path!  These are great networking opportunities. Men and Women are welcome.

Ashanti Bentil-Dhue is a Virgin Start Up Mentor and Contributor, Connector for Women In Food and Business Consultant. Ashanti also hosts networking events for women in food and a fast growing facebook group for food entrepreneurs. If you have a query, send an email to info@femalefoodpreneurcollective.com or book go to  http://bit.ly/2qERIT7 and find out how she can help your business grow.

 

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