Let’s All Eat Bugs!

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It can be difficult to launch new products in a crowded marketplace – example: foods. Products need to be differentiated from the competition in order to gain attention. But sometimes new products can be so significantly different that they defy consumer acceptance. This is quite possibly the case with foods made using insects – let’s call them ‘bug bars’.

Lest we think this is an unusual food source, consider that insects are a sustainable, economical, and accessible source of protein – and are eaten by nearly every culture in the world (except the U.S.). Insects are 69% protein by dry weight, compared to 31% for chicken breast and 29% for sirloin steak. Insect protein can provide as much calcium as milk and more iron than beef. Insect farming is also good for the environment; they produce 1/80th the methane that cattle do and need only 1/12th their feed (based on 100-gram portions of each). They reproduce quickly and do not require the vast amounts of farm and grassland as do the other protein sources.

Now, if we could just get past the “ick” factor… That’s the marketing challenge.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
1. Discuss the various promotional tactics that can be used for launching a product.
2. Have students come up with tactics and list all the tactics on the white board (ex: billboards, print, direct mail, etc.).
3. Show students the following Web sites and videos:
http://chapul.com/
http://bittyfoods.com/
http://www.exo.co/
4. Divide students into groups to work on this exercise.
5. For the protein cricket bars, have each team select three different tactics. For each tactic, explain why it was selected and how it will be used.
6. Have teams develop a key message and identify a target market.
7. Debrief by putting together the entire suggested lists on the white board. As a final step, have the entire class vote on the top three tactics and messages to use.

Source: New York Times

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