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Taste the crunch: cricket corporate welfare cost $420K

Author: Ryan Thorpe 2023/09/11

Bon apétit. 

The federal government spent $420,023 since 2018 subsidizing companies that turn crickets into human food.

“Canadians are struggling as inflation pushes up grocery bills, but subsidizing snacks made out of bugs doesn’t sound like the right solution for taxpayers,” said Franco Terrazzano, CTF Federal Director. “If Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wants to take a bite out of crunchy crickets, he can do it without taking a bite out of taxpayers’ wallets.”

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation gathered the list of cricket corporate welfare deals by reviewing the federal government’s proactive disclosure of grants and contributions. 

On two separate occasions, the feds cut cheques to a Montreal-based company called NAAK Inc., for a combined cost to taxpayers of $171,695. 

The co-founders of NAAK were “introduced … to the benefits of adding insects to (their) diet” by a friend and describe their mission as “democratizing insect consumption.” 

NAAK specializes in “cricket energy bars,” but a portion of its corporate welfare money was earmarked for developing other cricket products, including “steaks, sausages and falafels.” 

NAAK is one of five companies producing crickets for human consumption that have received corporate welfare deals from the feds in recent years. 

Table: Corporate welfare deals, 2018-2022

Company

Number of subsidies

Total cost of subsidies

NAAK Inc.

2

$171,695

Entologik Inc.

2

$88,979

Prairie Cricket Farms

2

$78,349

Gaia Protein

1

$42,000

Casa Bonita Foods

1

$39,000

Casa Bonita Foods wants to “manufacture high protein snacks made with cricket flour,” while Prairie Cricket Farmspromotes the consumption of “roasted crickets” or “cricket powder” mixed-in with your morning bowl of cereal. 

The founder of Entologik claims insects are the “protein of the future” and wants to grow the company into “the largest producers and processor of edible insects in Canada.” 

“The feds are having their ‘let them eat crickets’ moment,” Terrazzano said. “If someone can sell crickets as food, we wish them the best of luck, but taxpayers shouldn’t be paying for it.”

An additional $8.7 million in subsidies went to Aspire Food Group, which operates a cricket processing plant in London, Ont. In total, the company received four separate handouts

While the company is primarily geared toward pet food production, its owner said about 10 per cent of its business uses crickets for human food. 


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