INSIDE THE EDIBLE INSECT INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

Larvae from Next Millennium Farms (Courtesy of Fast Company) Larvae from Next Millennium Farms (Courtesy of Fast Company)
AS HUMANS EAT MORE BUGS, A $20 MILLION INDUSTRY HAS SPRUNG UP—COMPLETE WITH EDIBLE INSECT BUSINESS CONSULTANTS.

BY ANYA HOFFMAN

Each morning after arriving at his office in Youngstown, Ohio, Kevin Bachhuber steps into the 5,000-square-foot warehouse and listens to his crickets chirping. The owner and founder of Big Cricket Farms, which raises insects exclusively for human consumption, Bachhuber knows that the frequency and sound of crickets’ chirps can be an indicator of their well-being. And in order for his brand-new company to survive, so must the crickets. At least for now.

Big Cricket Farms opened for business this past April. The startup’s customers are restaurants and distributors as well as businesses that process crickets for food-product companies, and Bachhuber has been shocked at the strength of the demand. “I thought I was going to be laboring in obscurity for 12 to 18 months minimum,” he said. “I’m currently back-ordered by thousands of pounds.” The original business plan called for three years to realize profits; now it looks like he’ll hit that mark after just one.

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