I’m Luke Craven the man behind BiJimini
The Cajun spice made with crickets. I was born and brought up in Wiltshire and I still live in the house I was born! I love sport, I love travelling, I love dogs and I love food!
After leaving school I really wanted to join the Royal Air Force with the notion of becoming a pilot. Yet events intervened and instead I became a private chef in Tignes in the French Alps and loved it.
When that season ended, I made the decision to study and go to university and I chose the Royal Agricultural University based in Cirencester because it was local to me and I’d just got a puppy. This practical decision was one of the best I’ve ever made. I loved my time studying International Business, Food and Agri-business for my degree. While at university, I joined the enterprise society and this is when I first picked up on a slowly emerging worldwide trend for sustainability in food. I then came across crickets and became educated around their role in food already and their nutritional and environmental benefits. This ancient insect suddenly took on a whole new meaning for me.
While still studying, I set up what was to become a small, award-winning challenger brand, selling a high protein flour, for human consumption in the baking market, made from crickets. Not surprisingly, this attracted a large amount of media attention at the time.
PowerFlour, as the protein flour was called, was a replacement flour, very high in protein made specifically for the baking market. Like Bijimini Cajun Spice, it also contained all nine amino acids.
My then business partner went on to set up our cricket farm – at the time one of the first cricket farms for human consumption in the UK. We bred, manufactured, marketed and sold our own cricket flour product.
Initially, we took PowerFlour to events, such as BBC Countryfile Live, Jamie Oliver’s Big Festival, and other local markets, which was hard work, and great fun at the time.
In 2019, my business partner and I made the decision to step away from the project. However, I was, still passionate about continuing to work with alternative protein sources within the food market, and also, remaining within the entomophagy community. I still see this as an emerging market.
I realised the last four years has allowed me, even at a young age, to gain hands-on, entrepreneurial experience, including a time of market testing and having a viable product which I brought to market. With BiJimini, I’m being that experience into play and moving forward under my own steam.
I began working on my spice as I realised, like flour, a spice could make crickets more accessible and palatable for a wider audience, especially as they start to realise the nutritional and sustainable benefits of this food source.
High in protein and nutrients, the BiJimini spice will be a well-balanced supplement to add to original recipes, and general cooking.
This product will appeal to customers who, like me believe in helping the environment by eating sustainably sourced food products. I will do everything in my power to make my business as eco-friendly as possible.
More Ethical Lifestyle!
At a time when the world is looking at ways to cut carbon emissions, insects, considered highly nutritional, are becoming a serious contender in a move towards ethical eating. According to the UN FAO, farming insects produces one hundredth of the carbon emissions of the equivalent output from beef cattle or pigs.
Crickets produce less than 0.1% of emissions than cows produce.
Crickets only need 20% of the water a cow requires to produce the same amount of protein.
Crickets are even more efficient compared to vegetables, due to their protein content.
Insects are definitely the way forward to eating your way to a more ethical lifestyle. I’m already working on further products for launch over the next few years.
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