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.
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.
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 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!