Working Out the Bugs–of Eating Insects


As the world becomes more advanced and developed, middle classes from India and China are beginning to consume larger amounts of protein which requires more herds of animals. These animals harm the environment and cause climate change. They also consume a large portion of food that could be used for a better cause. So what is the new substitute? Insects.

Many international chefs have tried to introduce insect eating to the Western culture but have failed to entice Americans, but four students from the Royal College of Art and Imperial College in London are approaching the issue differently. They see the problem as a design issue: How do you make bugs more appealing? This London-based startup called, “Ento” (derived from the Japanese “bento”) wants to “squash” Westerners’ aversion to eating insects.
So how do you get Americans to eat insects? Their approach is to take presentational cues from sushi—such as bite-sized pieces and cubes placed into bento boxes. Some of their menu items include honey caterpillar rolls which is comprised of fried wax worms, that taste like pistachios, flattened like tamago (egg omelet), thenwrapped around chopped carrots and radish. Buffalo caterpillar bread cube is a mix of powdered buffalo worms and bread ingredients. Grasshopper mini-pie includes fresh thyme, coriander seed, sea salt, and minced locust to create a salty meaty texture. Overall, insects seem to be a great substitute for daily protein. The four students write that bugs are, “much more space and energy efficient than traditional livestock and will happily eat and the crops we don’t want” they are also “high in protein, low in fat and cholesterol, and rich in nutrients like omega-3”.
Co-founder, Jonathan Fraser and his colleagues held a public tasting last summer. He explains that, “people thought the food would look weird and scary” but it went well. Fraser says that, “We changed their expectations.” Their next step is to hopefully open a restaurant, making bug bentos available, worldwide.

Kawasaki: Capturing the U.S Market

In the 1960’s Kawasaki, a Japan-based motorcycle company, started its first headquarters in Chicago. The company had a blank slate of the U.S market that started with no customers, distribution plan, or image. What they did have was a strong desire to supply its customers with the best products. When the company had first started advertising their product through television and newspaper channels, there was no direction in their market plan. Consumers were confused with the brand’s image. Kawasaki was seen as reliable, yes, but they couldn’t decide on whether it was a family-oriented vehicle, adventurous vehicle, or a friendly-cruise type of vehicle. This left the Kawasaki brand in the middle of the road, trying to target a wide variety of personalities and ages. The company’s marketing efforts had led the company in decreasing profits up until the late 90’s. Kawasaki

In the early 2000’s the marketing team in the United States decided to capture Kawasaki’s brand image. They wanted to study the consumer behavior, image, and personality of its U.S riders. Contrary to the Japanese culture, Kawasaki U.S wanted to reach its customers and get personal with them. The marketing team conducted interviews and events to fully understand who rode their bikes. After observing the market, Kawasaki coined the name “Intelligent Rebel” for their motorcycle riders. Now Kawasaki had a brand image that they could align their marketing strategy with. “Intelligent Rebels” were Kawasaki riders who were die-hard, passionate riders that lived for the thrill of the ride. Kawasaki (2)

Kawasaki had figured out their target market. Their mission is to keep their customers close and listen to their needs. By having a responsive and receptive attitude, customers felt appreciated with a sense of pride. The company was able to  foster close relationships with their U.S riders. They have seen the fruits of their labor, paying off with an increasing market share of approximately 25 percent. Kawasaki has found the secret ingredient to their success and the customers love it. With continual events such as closing New York streets for avid Kawasaki riders, the company continues its “rode” to success!


Adaptation or Standardization: Tapping into a $2 Trillion Dollar Market

The global market of the pharmaceutical industry is both competitive and complex. Companies must decide whether to take a standardized or adaptive approach toward their potential markets. In most pharmaceutical companies, medications are produced in large quantities, making changes to the production and manufacturing costly. But is it beneficial for some companies to adapt in order to tap into a large market? Some pharmaceutical companies believe that it is. Breaking into a new market can seem daunting with foreign government regulations, culture beliefs, and health issues, but if a company can tweak their strategy and production, they may be on to something big.

Mecca, the holiest city of Islam

In Saudi Arabia nearly three million people travel annually to Mecca, but because authorities require citizens to be vaccinated for meningitis most people do not attend. This is because, based on Islamic law, it is forbidden to ingest any form of product derived from pork. Pharmaceutical companies are having difficulty penetrating this untapped market because of strict government regulations. As of recently, there have been no meningococcus vaccine that has been proven as indisputably halal—permissible for Muslim consumption. This is due to the fact that the medications are exposed to pork materials, specifically the gelatinous capsules formed from boiled pig knuckles. Pharmaceutical companies are looking for a new, cost-effective solution.

Hamzah Mohd Salleh creating new standards for halal products

Hamzah Mohd Salleh, a biochemist from the International Islamic University Malaysia, is developing the newest solution to attack the problem. He is creating a pig-free approach to biopharmaceuticals using collagen from cows, not swine. Salleh and his team are also generating kits that help authenticate halal products through identification of proteins that secrete from poultry during production. If the process is a success, Salleh can help pharmaceutical companies tap into the $2 trillion dollar market that Muslims spend annually on halal goods. In sum, an adaptation strategy may be shown profitable in the future for large companies willing to invest into R&D and new product design.

Shoppers Moving Towards Instant Gratification

Technology is changing up the game in consumer behavior and marketing. As people are living faster, more productive lifestyles, they are looking for solutions that provide instant gratification. Companies such as MasterCard and Conde Nast, publisher of Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Wired, are running with this new idea to develop faster response times. Both companies are teaming up with ShopThis to create a new way of advertising and shopping. They are hoping to achieve a digital platform that allows shoppers to buy what they want on the spot. When a consumer sees something they want to purchase from a magazine ad, television screen, or even the refrigerator, they can simply scan the bar code or QR square which automatically sends the order out to be home delivered.


A similar idea from Peapod, rooting up in the Northeast and Midwest, is a grocer that provides online shopping services and delivery. The cool thing about Peapod is that reordering is as simple as the act of scanning a barcode. When the customer runs out of a certain food item, just scan the code and the item will automatically be reordered for them.

Peapod shopper shopping at the train station

Paydiant is developing the same idea but through television screens. When there is a coupon or item on the television, the consumer scans the code and purchases instantly.
Other companies such as eBay, Amazon, Google, and Walmart have initiated same-day services in several cities. Google developed Google Shopping Express, a program that lets consumers purchase from stores like Target, Toys “R” Us, Walgreens, and American Eagle. Shoppers pay with the Google Wallet, a Google payment system.

Google Express Shop
Google Express delivers right to your doorstep

So what does this mean for the global market? It means new opportunities to reach a new market instantaneously. QR Squares can make shopping easy for non-English speaking shoppers.
The future of instant shopping is still a fresh idea still making its way to the surface. There has been talk about a 3-D fitting room app that creates a personal avatar that tries on clothes and shows shoppers what it would look like on them. Google glasses are being tested to make purchases with a simple tap on the frames. The new concept of shopping is just sprouting, creating endless opportunities for many industries!

Kit Kat Breaking Off a Piece of the Japanese Market

Mmmm! “Break me off a piece of that Kit Kat bar!” This famous, red wrapper, American candy bar is known for its chocolately, crispy-crunchy taste –advertised to give its snackers a blissful break time. With its chocolate filling smashed between three layers of fresh wafer, dipped in milk chocolate, the Kit Kat bar is simply an all-around winner.

Original Kit Kat Bar

Although they are known for their three main flavors: dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate, Kit Kat bars are a global confection produced in 13 countries. Each country has flavors tailored to its local customers in order to boost customer interaction. Specifically looking at Japan, Nestle has introduced over 200 different flavors including miso, soy sauce (the top-seller), green tea, wasabi-white chocolate, and limited edition flavors tailored to its location-specific candy crowd. With Japanese pop culture turning to its younger market, Kit Kat has made region-specific flavors that encourage their buyers to collect limited-edition flavors that cannot be bought anywhere else in the world. For example, yubari melon and baked corn can only be found on Hokkaido Island; sweet potato flavor only from the Kanto region. These flavors inspire locals and tourist to purchase these as gifts, souvenirs, or collectors items.

Japanese Kit Kat flavors including: green tea, miso, red bean, raspberry, blueberry cheesecake

Kit Kat’s marketing team for Japan cleverly coined its name to the Japanese phrase “kitto-katsu”, きっと勝つ, which can be translated into “you’re a winner” or “surely win”. Kit Kat recognized that gift-giving was a big part of the Japanese culture especially during the students’ important school entrance exams. They saw this as a great opportunity to partner with a privatized Japanese postal service in which anyone could send a Kit Kat with a message to a friend or loved one. These were called “Kit Kat Mail” which was a post-card confection that included three Kit Kats sent with a written message as a form of good luck.

“Kit Kat Mail”


Kit Kat has been wildly successful with their regional flavors and new mailing options that is has become Japan’s #1 candy brand. By understanding the Japanese culture and adapting their marketing approach to the needs of their international market segment, Kit Kat has a good picture of its local customers. Kit Kat’s flavors continue to be an ongoing craze for the Japanese and tourists around the world.

Kit Kat Mailing Room during Student Entrance Exams
Kit Kat Mailing Room during Student Entrance Exams

Now really, break me off a piece of that Kit Kat bar!