Cricket Pesto Product Development
Recipe & New Product Development
Esther Jiang, owner of Gryllies, came to Niagara College’s Research & Innovation division hoping to expand her product line of novel sauces using cricket powder (flour). Esther has been working with cricket powders in a variety of methods successfully and even won a $15,000 government entrepreneur award for her business. Esther’s challenge was to create a product that, in addition to being delicious, also had the appropriate pH, water activity, cost and ingredients that could be produced on an industrial scale. Changing ingredients from fresh to dry, and from common to industry standard, while maintaining an appealing ingredient deck and delicious flavour, possessed unique challenges.
The CFWI IC internally tested commercially available pestos, along with current Gryllies prototype sauces, to come up with an “equal or better” target for development. Through rigorous testing, the research team narrowed in on specific acids, natural flavour extracts, dried herbs, and complementary powdered flavours. The team eliminated difficult-to-scale ingredients and replaced them with industry- capable ingredients. Changes were made along the way to accommodate flavour, aroma, texture, umami, and to accommodate a target nutritional composition, mostly in terms of protein content. Researchers also considered cost and found appropriate suppliers with proper industry spec sheets, standards, and product consistency. The final pesto variables were tested with the industry partner, and the best-in-class was chosen for future production. Industry partner Esther Jiang is planning on returning for future help in expanding the product line.
Funded by: NRC Industrial Research Assistance Program (through Tech-Access Network)