Malaysian firm switches to ‘proteinisation’ strategy to emulate Impossible Foods’ success

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According to Ento Founder and CEO Kevin Wu, the firm first started out in Malaysia with a range of roasted crickets and larvae as snack items, but the challenge was – and still is – getting new consumers to even try these.

“When we first launched the roasted snack products, we found that maybe only three out of every 10 people were willing to try these, much less buy them, and that’s when we realized it was very much an uphill challenge to change people’s dietary habits and adopt new ones,”​ Wu told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

“So we’ve acknowledged these challenges, and listened to consumer feedback for more mass market products, and so have moved to focus on powderised formats – this means we ‘proteinise’ regular products such as granola, cookies, bread, cake and so on with cricket powder to raise the protein content.

“Since then we’ve found that at least seven out of 10 consumers are willing to at least try these, so the acceptability has definitely increased.”

This does not mean that Ento is giving up on its whole-insect snacks, as Wu believes there still remains a market for these and there are still consumers who take these as direct snacks or as added toppings on dishes to add protein, but just that Ento will not be developing this range further for now.

“High protein is the main focus anyway, and we are much higher in protein than any other snack out there. This can be achieved via the proteinisation approach too – for example our granolas contain around two times the protein content found in Amazin’ Grace granola, which is one of the healthiest niche granolas out there and has 11% to 12% protein content,”​ he said.

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