These Grasshopper Churritos Are Bringing Mexican Food To The Rest Of The World One Bag At A Time
If you’re looking for a new high-fiber and protein snack then maybe grasshopper churritos might be for you. Say hello to Wichos, lime and chili-flavored churritos made out of seasoned ground grasshoppers. The product is the work of Erika Gil Gutiérrez and Magali Díaz García, two Mexican entrepreneurs that have been making the treats for the last year out of Mexico City.
The snacks are made out of flour from the grasshopper, amaranth, sesame, and flaxseed, with lemon and chipotle flavor.
The company, Winko, was founded in 2017 and aims to end malnutrition in a sustainable way. Gutiérrez and Garcia want to accomplish this by producing foods and products rich in proteins that are made from grasshoppers and grasshopper dust.
According to The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the human population by 2030 will be 9,000 million people. They suggest looking for new alternatives that ensure enough food for the population.
One option recommended is edible insects that contain high proteins, vitamins, and amino acids. In countries like Asia, Africa, and Latin America, the consumption of insects is very common and it’s a path that Gutiérrez and Garcia have shaped their business model after.
They decided to go with grasshoppers because of the high protein levels and their history in Mexico during pre-Hispanic times.
Winko originally got its grasshoppers solely from Oaxaca. Now they use insects from Puebla, Tlaxcala and the state of México. The duo realized the insect lives and breeds in Central Mexico so they decided to expand their reach and use some from those regions as well.
“Mexico has a great diversity of edible insects, as well as being part of our culture. We thought it was a good idea to experiment with them to see how we could offer a product that was healthy, of good quality and good flavor that would nourish and feed people and not just satisfy the craving with a snack that does not nourish.” Gutiérrez said in an interview with Tec Review.
In addition to high protein and fiber levels, Wichos have iron, magnesium, and vitamins A, B, and C. Of the more than 1,900 species of edible insects that are consumed globally, beyond being filled with proteins they are also good to the environment.
“The grasshopper is very efficient at producing its protein, so it needs fewer resources than other animals to offer a complete protein,” Gutiérrez said. “If we compare it against beef or pork, these animals need a lot of land, water, and food in order to produce a kilo of protein, as well as emitting a lot of greenhouse gases.”
Earlier this year, the entrepreneurs placed third in a food competition for their unique snack
Back in March, Winko competed in the International Pitch Competition, during the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas. By winning, the duo gets one year of access to an acceleration program, international links, and accompaniment, $50,000 in investment and support for the collection of up to $ 500,000 in funds.
It’s safe to say Gutiérrez and Garcia have tapped into a unique food market that is just beginning to grow. With future plans to expand, don’t be surprised if you see a bag of Wichos at a market near you.
“Our plan for the future is to reach more people,” Garcia told Entrepreneur. “Our mission is to be able to nurture more people and offer this option so that people can enjoy themselves without sacrificing their pockets.”
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