Media is ‘chirping’ for local startup

A local food company has media outlets buzzing about their product. Cricket Flours, founded by University of Oregon graduates Omar Ellis and Charlie Wilson, takes a new spin on paleo-style ingredients by sourcing crickets raised in the U.S. to produce highly nutritious powder that makes it easy for mixing into common recipes.

The buzz started after the Register Guard posted an article on January 31st. The article—Cricket Cuisine—focused on how the founders chose crickets as their market as well as highlights some challenges they might face in determining their future business venture. The duo was also featured on OPB—Eugene Startup Joins Cricket Flour Market—and in the Portland Monthly. Cricket flour—the substance, not the company—even made the Huffington Post’s “weirdest and wackiest food trends of 2015.”

So, how does one become a cricket connoisseur?

The Cricket Flour team got their start at the University of Oregon. Wilson, a recent law school graduate, and Ellis, a former MBA program participant, approached the idea while working together in a small group. Wilson began researching alternative sources of protein and nutrition as a result of an allergy that inhibited his consumption of common store-bought items. After looking at a variety of options and studying nutritional information, protein sourced from crickets seemed like the perfect fit.

Noticing the increasing demand for sustainable sources of high protein, and the strain on resources necessary in raising livestock for mass consumption, they considered a number of sources of protein before settling on crickets. At 12.9 grams of protein per 100 grams, crickets have about half the protein of chicken and beef and are notably high sources for calcium, iron and vitamin B12. Targeting athletes, sustainability focused individuals and those with dietary restrictions, Cricket Flour makes it easy for people to incorporate the flour into their daily diets and training routines. About 5,500 crickets are needed to produce one pound of flour.

What’s next for these two?

Winners of Portland State University’s Lab2Market Pitch event, a two-day intensive that allows university entrepreneurs and innovators to refine their business concepts with help from venture capitalists and startup mentors, Wilson and Ellis have set their sights on an international event for startups in Bangkok later this month.

Ready to try cricket flour for yourself?

You can purchase cricket flour from the company’s website and follow them on twitter: @CricketFlours.