The federal government have spent over $400,000 subsidizing companies that transform crickets into food for people since 2018, according to a report from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF).
“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, the CTF’s federal director.
“The feds are having their ‘let them eat crickets’ moment,” Terrazzano added. “If someone can sell crickets as food, we wish them the best of luck, but taxpayers shouldn’t be paying for it.”
Since first beginning to fund these projects in 2018, the government has spent a total of $420,023 of taxpayer money on them.
“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,” said Terrazzano.
The CTF compiled a list of all the corporate welfare deals that the federal government has with cricket processing companies based on data provided by the government’s proactive disclosure of grants and contributions.
NAAK Inc. is a Montreal based company that has received a combined $171,695 from the government in the last five years.
The company’s co-founders had been “introduced … to the benefits of adding insects to (their) diet” through a friend and NAAK said their main goal is “democratizing insect consumption.”
Cricket energy bars are NAAK’s most popular item, however they have received corporate welfare money to develop other potential food products like steak, sausages and falafels, all made out of crickets.
NAAK is not the only company receiving money to produce cricket based products for human consumption, there is also Entologik, Prairie Cricket Farms, Gaia Protein and Casa Bonita Foods.
Casa Bonita Foods plans to “manufacture high protein snacks made with cricket flour.”
Prairie Cricket Farms produces roasted crickets and cricket powder, which is designed for adding to bowls of cereal.
Many of these companies believe that eating insects will be the “protein of the future,” like the founder of Entologik, who hopes to grow their company into “the largest producers and processor of edible insects in Canada.”
The federal government has also made multiple payments to Aspire Food Group, a cricket processing plant located in London, Ont for a combined total of $8.7 million in subsidies. The bulk of the company is devoted to the production of pet food, however they spend about 10% of their workload on processing crickets for human consumption.