Continuing our Start Your Own series, we interviewed Prabhsimran Badal, founder of Chirrup Foods to find out what it takes to launch a cookie business with a rather unusual ingredient..!
Tell us a bit about Chirrup cookies – what are they and how did they come about?
Chirrup cookies are almond butter based cookies with cricket flour and they come in three flavours: Chai Latte, Espresso and Minty Matcha.
The idea is to encourage insect eating. Crickets are an extremely nutritious and sustainable food source. They are high in protein, rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, iron, calcium and B12, and they take a fraction of the food and water resources as compared to traditional sources of protein like chicken, beef and steak.
What inspired you to start Chirrup?
There were a lot of start-ups I came across (based mostly in the US and Canada) that were doing cricket powder based foods. The Hult prize winner was also a cricket farm social enterprise called Aspire Foods. I was initially planning to do a Master’s in Social Entrepreneurship at Hult but got inspired to set up Chirrup instead.
What skills did you come to the business with already / what was your background?
I had just completed my undergraduate degree in Business Management and International Relations at Oxford Brookes University. Apart from that I’ve always been interested in healthy eating and this is something I am passionate about, which is why the cookies are made using organic, wholesome and real ingredients.
What skills have been most important in helping you grow your business?
We’ve just started so I can’t say we’ve grown much but the basics of business management helped me to make a strategic growth plan for the business. The support I had from my mentors at Brookes University was brilliant and The Fab Accelerator has also been helpful.
How have bloggers / online influencers helped you grow your brand?
Bloggers and online influencers are key to spreading the word about the brand and insect eating in general. We are just getting started with our influencer campaigns with Whole Influence and we hope to see some results very soon. They are one of the main ways of reaching health and sustainability conscious people.
What’s the most challenging thing about setting up your own food business?
There are quite a few challenges that come to mind. Firstly, food is a perishable product so that is always challenging. Finding the right manufacturer to co-pack with is difficult. In terms of the product, it can be tricky to formulate a recipe which is clean but also has a good shelf life and reasonable profit margin. Lastly, trying to change consumer perceptions about a novel food item (or anything really) can be challenging.
What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before you started?
I guess doing things before you’re ready. It’s a great way to learn quickly and grow fast too. It pushes you to do more.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is thinking about starting to create their own food company?
First and foremost, I think you have to trust yourself.
To find out more about Chirrup Foods, see their Instagram.