What’s on the menu today? Chicken, fish, beef? Or are we going with a vegetarian option? Whatever the dishes, we need to be sure that we are getting a balance of vitamins, minerals, carbs, and especially proteins. And for that last challenge, we at Hargol FoodTech are proud to present — grasshopper protein powder!
Wait, don’t go! This is not a joke — and in fact it’s so serious that our method of producing insect-based protein powder netted a top prize in last year’s WeWork Creator Awards. The little creatures, it turns out, are an almost-perfect food: Up to 70% protein content, containing all essential amino acids, very low in saturated fat/cholesterol, very little use of water and zero waste for farming, extremely low greenhouse gas emissions in production — and, both kosher and halal (the only insect that satisfies both criteria).
It’s the perfect food not just for health — but it’s perfect for a world that, despite the progress that has been made, still doesn’t have enough to eat. Grasshoppers are nature’s most efficient protein source, providing superior nutritional content to any other protein source with a much lower environmental footprint. Hargol’s grasshoppers, we believe, will be able to feed the world, especially populations in Africa and Asia that suffer from a lack of protein — and that protein will be environmentally sustainable, utilizing limited resources (water, land, etc.) much more efficiently than the very wasteful production of animal-based protein.
Our commitment to “tikkun olam” (improving the world) is a main factor in our being voted a top winner at this year’s WeWork Creators Award. And the substantial financial boon that accompanies the award has helped us helped us increase our production capacity — just in time, as demand for our unique product is much higher than we can produce. The Award has also put us in the spotlight with investors, so much so that we are moving towards closing a new round of funding. It has enabled us to hire additional personnel to accelerate our R&D and improve our production efficiency.
Even beyond that, however, is the benefit that accrued to us from the mentorship offered by WeWork Israel. That experience has pushed us into developing new high-end products with strategic partners we never thought would reach at this stage of our development — and they are exciting products that will reach the markets soon.
Even the event itself last October was a springboard for success for us. Winning the Award created a buzz in the media, and among investors, customers and strategic partners — many of whom, it turned out, were right there at the event, and who contacted us afterwards, seeking to buy our product and/or invest in the company. Food and beverage companies from all over the world have contacted us to explore possible collaboration. It’s clear that the Award has taken us to the next level — actually several levels up!
We’ve been working on our powdered grasshopper protein powder since 2014, and hearing from a friend in Austin (also in the insect business) about the WeWork Creators Award, we decided to try out for it — never really thinking we would win. But even though we were selected for a top award, we found participating in the contest to be very humbling — surrounded as we were by amazing ideas, people, and projects — as well as exciting, and especially inspiring, as each participant was trying to develop and build ways to make the world a better place. Just to be in the company of these amazing people and their ventures was a privilege. One thing we learned was that when you develop your product/startup and think about the impact you hope to make — and not only about the technology or the economy — you discover stores of drive and energy that push you, your partners, and employees to reach your goals.
And even if you don’t win, participation in an an event like this cannot help but inspire you. And even though we did win, our journey doesn’t end with the award; it will only end when our vision of helping to bring cheap, sustainable, and environmentally-friendly protein to the world comes to fruition.
RSVP for WeWork’s Creator Jerusalem event on June 20 to meet Creators who are changing our world for the better: https://we.co/jerusalem-creator
Dror Tamir is the co-founder and CEO of Hargol FoodTech. His personal passion is to improve the health of children and families through better nutrition.
In this unique partnership between the Times of Israel and WeWork’s Creator Awards, we invite you to meet innovators from across the country and learn more about their stories and how they are making the world a better place.