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Tortilla chips made from insects – now there’s a concept.
You may be surprised to learn that this snack actually does exist thanks to Rose Wang, CEO and Co-Founder of Chirps Chips.
Chirps Chips exists to normalize eating insects so that society can envision a sustainable food system where insects are grown in urban areas and fed on food waste. Unlike factory farming, insects can be raised humanely in cities, without antibiotics or growth hormones. Chirps Chips uses crickets milled into a flour to make high-protein tortilla chips – and they’re delicious, with three times more protein and 40% less fat than a regular chip.
The goal? To substitute animal protein with insect protein, which will in turn reduce land and water usage and greenhouse emissions.
During her senior year of college, Rose was dared to eat a fried scorpion while studying abroad in China. Although terrified, she took on the challenge and was pleasantly surprised – the bug tasted like shrimp!
Her fears quickly disappeared, and she started to wonder why people were eating bugs in other parts of the world, but not in the US – in fact, around 2 billion people already eat bugs as part of their diet.
Rose became infatuated by the subject. Upon further research, she discovered that the livestock industry contributed to more greenhouse gas emissions than all forms of transportation combined. Insects on the other hand are one of the most sustainable protein sources available, and could be the key to reducing the food system’s impact on climate change.
Rose and her college roommate, Laura D’Asaro, began experimenting with crickets that they bought from a local pet shop and co-founded the startup venture soon after.
When the business was first getting off the ground, everyone called them crazy, believing there was no way a company working to re-build the food system with insect protein could thrive. Rose and Laura had to call 400 manufacturers to try and sell their product, and received 399 no’s before they got one yes.
Now, Chirps Chips is backed by Mark Cuban after winning a deal on “Shark Tank“, and the snack is being sold on thousands of store shelves across the nation in flavors like BBQ and cheddar.
In addition to being a Shark Tank survivor, Rose is a Forbes 30 under 30 social entrepreneur, Elle USA Impact Award winner, Echoing Green Climate Fellow, MassChallenge Gold winner, Harvard Dean’s Design Challenge winner, and TEDx speaker.
Chirps Chips manufactures the first of what Rose and Laura hope will be a long line of bug-based snacks.
“We would like to have all sorts of insects and brands under our company. Our planet and resources are important, and we are going to keep fighting no matter what,” says Rose.
Through its Fellowship program launched in 2012, The Global Good Fund invests in high potential leaders committed to social impact worldwide. It also created the 360 MIRROR – the first evidence-based leadership assessment for social entrepreneurs and CEOs.
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