China silkworm-based snack scoops top innovation accolade ahead of official launch

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

Bella Pupa boss Massimo Reverberi is hopeful of launching the product in the next three months.
Bella Pupa boss Massimo Reverberi is hopeful of launching the product in the next three months.

Related tags Nutrition

China's first packaged-good insect-based snack food, which is yet to formerly launched on the market, has already scooped a leading innovation accolade.

Bugsolutely's Bella Pupa, a silkworm-based chip, has received The Food and Beverage Innovation Forum’s Most Innovative Food prize.

Bella Pupa was voted number one out of a selection of 54 competitors from different categories, including diary, drink, snack and instant foods.

The product is made with 26% silkworm powder and has been created by serial entrepreneur Massimo Reverberi, along with a team of Chinese and French food designers and food scientists.

It was one of a handful of projects to be backed by Shanghai-based food accelerator Bits x Bites.

However, despite the innovation award success, Reverberi told us he was still trying to clear regulatory hurdles to officially launch the product in China.

He told us he was hopeful these would be overcome “within the next three months”, ​adding that he was hopeful of sales success by on the strong heritage of consuming edible insects in parts of China.

Nutritional benefits

Compared to pork and chicken, silkworm has twice as many essential amino-acids. It has double the protein and iron than found in an egg or beef, more than 10 times the zinc, magnesium values from milk and similar values of calcium and selenium.

Silkworms are also rich in vitamins A, E, C, B1, B2, B3, B5, B7, B9, and its abundant fatty acids include Omega-3, 6 and 9.

Reverberi is also the brains behind cricket-based pasta, which is produced by Bugsolutely in Thailand. Maade with 20% cricket flour, the product is aimed at western markets.

He said there had been a spate of new edible insect-based product launch in Asia in recent months, citing new cereal bars made with cricket powders in both Thailand and South Korea.

Writing for FoodNavigator-Asia last month, he also assessed how the ‘yuck factor‘​ associated with consuming edible insects could be overcome.

The innovation award was handed out by the Food and Beverage Innovation Forum which takes place in Shanghai in April.

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