Insects and mycoprotein, as well as ancient grains and sustainably-sourced vegetables will be used by the former Bakkavor and Greencore rivals in a bid to produce a nutritional and sustainable ready meal, they told FoodManufacture.co.uk.
Speaking at the Food Manufacture Group’s Business Leaders’ Forum yesterday (January 20), held at the offices of the law firm DWF in London, Jones said: “It’s incredibly important for food manufacturers to embrace current issues – such as food shortages, a rising population and healthier lifestyles – by looking for alternatives and solutions now.”
Bingham added: “It’s a bit ‘out there’, using insects in a ready meal, but we’ve had a lot of experience launching products and have had a lot of success on the supermarket shelves, so we know what consumers respond to.”
Insects will be ground into flours, instead of being used whole, to prevent alienating consumers, said the pair, who launched their own ready meal consultancy in spring last year. “We’ll use cricket flour in, say, lasagne sheets,” Jones said.
“We’re looking at mycoproteins as a protein replacement and are dealing with a manufacturer (that isn’t Quorn), who could supply us,” he added.
The duo plan to use the business model of home-cooked ready meal firm Cook to launch their brand, which could be called Earth’s Table, they revealed.
Cook launched products into garden centres to target older, but still time-pressed consumers, who cared about quality, claimed Jones.
“To give our brand exposure to the right people, this is something we would consider doing,” he added.
However, working on their own brand will not not deter focus from the rest of their business, which is to develop ready meals with leading retailers and manufacturers, they confirmed.
Bingham and Jones, who are based at the University of Nottingham, have also pumped £120,000 into a new development suite there and taken on three new staff, including former Greencore development chef Dale Petchey and innovation development manager Gail Francis.
They are also working on new ready meal ranges with three major retailers, that they would not name, as well as a major online retailer, they added.
£10M in food waste
Last year, they told FoodManufacture.co.uk they had saved one retailer £10M in food waste with a new ready meal concept, which had a shelf-life of up to 21 days.
A pasteurising system was used to gain the extra shelf-life and was done in conjunction with European ready meal giant Ter Beke, which has a turnover of £300M (€400M) and employs 1,700 staff.
Edible insects, the facts:
- 1,900 edible insect species
- Market value to be worth £230M by 2020
- Eating insects is also known as entomophagy
“This method of production, that’s only available on the Continent, is targeted at supermarkets, which are trying to reduce food waste – especially with global food shortages predicted by 2050,” Bingham added.
Food Manufacture’s Business Leaders’ Forum was sponsored by DWF, Lloyds Bank and food testing company ALcontrol Laboratories.
The free to attend, half-day event is open to senior executives in food and drink manufacturing firms. To register for next year’s event, email firstname.lastname@example.org