Making crickets into Pet Treats and Supplements

They may not be your traditional chicken or tuna pet treats, but Joy Hillier found the perfect protein alternative in crickets for Midgard Insect Farm’s line of natural pet treats and supplements.

In attempting to address food stability and the need to focus less on cattle, chicken and traditional animals, Joy, founder and CEO of Midgard Insect Farm in Windsor, Nova Scotia, utilized her background in veterinary science to research sustainable protein alternatives.

She began her research in 2015 and found that crickets were a good source of protein for pets, aquaculture and even humans. “Sustainable proteins are needed and crickets are a valuable alternative,” she said. “The sustainability of raising them, the bioavailability of the protein itself, and the amount of other nutrients found in crickets are all reasons to use them.”

Excited by the idea of turning her idea into a product, Joy looked to Perennia for their expertise and rented space in their Innovation Centre in Truro to develop her product. She says the Perennia team’s depth of knowledge was key to moving her idea along the product development chain.

“They’re just fantastic. When I have questions about nutrition or anything scientific, they are my go-to,” she said. “It’s the most positive business relationship I’ve had during my time at Midgard. They even connected me to a venture capitalist interested in the protein.”

Recently Joy partnered with Perennia to complete a growth and reproductive study using different wavelengths of LED light. Together they designed and conducted the experiment in her tenant space at the Innovation Centre in Truro. Also Joy worked with Perennia to document and implement a Food Safety Program to gain Feed Assure Certification.

Although the company is pre-revenue and still in the research stage, Joy says having the Perennia team on board constantly pushes her to move in a positive direction.

“They’re always on board and their staff are always excited to see us and work with us,” she said. “We will move to a commercial model and begin selling in the next year and the knowledge we’ve gained from Perennia will help us become a revenue-generating business.”

Joy Hillier, Midgard Insect Farm