One day, back in 2014, my son and I were driving somewhere when he asked why, here in the United States, we don’t eat insects. I gave him what he called a Dad answer. So he began to research it.
The timing was good. The UN’s FAO had just published “Edible Insects — Future prospects for food and feed security” and it renewed interest in this ancient food source that we currently choose to ignore.
Day after day Sam kept coming back with amazing facts about how healthy and environmentally friendly insects are. Billions of people worldwide eat them including our southern neighbor, Mexico. There are over 200 different insects that are used as food in Mexico. Here in the United States, it looks like the only reason we do not eat insects is that we have an unwarranted cultural fear.
Sam’s research showed us that insects are healthy.
Edible insects are a real animal protein with all nine essential amino acids, they are a prebiotic fiber, high in antioxidants, a perfect Omega 3:6 balance, high in B12, Calcium, Zinc, Iron and more.
Sam also discussed how adding insects to our diet is environmentally friendly. Insects are a healthy alternative to meat and meat production is a major cause of pollution, deforestation, and inhumane treatment of animals. Insects can be grown in the home, on small farms, and by large industrial enterprises. They can be grown humanely in rural and urban areas. They can be grown vertically, even in old warehouses.
Our family quickly became convinced that we should all be adding insects to our diet. So, we decided to set up a website to educate the public. Within a few days, we received the first of many questions asking where someone could buy edible bugs. We looked around and realized that there were very few places that sell edible insects. This prompted us to buy some from the few companies selling edible insect products like protein bars and cricket chips. Then, we added an eCommerce store to the website. Our sales grew quickly.
During this time, Sam continued educating our family on the benefits of edible insects so it was not a big surprise when my sister, Susan, decided to join in to make it a business. Susan was the FX Directory for Conde Nast at the time. She’s a strong artist and her skills complemented my marketing and entrepreneurial experience.
Entosense was incorporated in July of 2015.
This was early enough that we were able to buy the domain www.EdibleInsects.com without paying an exorbitant amount for it. We started the business out my barn and soon grew large enough to move to an old mill in Lewiston, Maine. We currently have employees and 5,000 sq. ft. on the fifth floor of the Roy Hill Mill.
It’s been a lot of fun. We’ve been able to attend a number of conferences and have met amazing people from professors and scientists to industry leaders. Our company, Entosense, has become an industry leader selling edible insects to diverse accounts including educational institutions, museums, zoos, retailers, and restaurants all over the world. It’s a great business.
Entosense is also more than a business for me, it’s personal. By the time my kids are my age, there will be half again as many people on our planet and meat production will need to double. This is not possible. Food insecurity is a major cause of strife and war. Edible insects, already consumed by billions of people worldwide, is one answer.
Today, attitudes are changing as science begins to show us the significant health and environmental benefits of insects as food and feed. Coupled with the concern over factory farms and inhumane treatment of livestock, edible insects make sense.
What started as a quick question and an incomplete Dad answer inspired us to create a business with a mission.
Our mission is to make insects part of everyone’s daily diet. It’s good for us and it’s good for our planet.
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