Ellie Inc.’s cheeseburger looks just like the real deal. So does the hearty bowl of minestrone and the chiffon cake with whipped cream advertised on the company’s website. They apparently taste like the real thing, too, except for hints of a nutty, sweet flavor characteristic of one of their ingredients — silkworms.
The products developed by the startup under the firm’s Silk Food banner contain edible sericulture insects and are marketed as a high-protein, low-cost alternative and sustainable food source. And there’s more on the menu: The firm has produced Italian, sesame and Caesar salad dressings and a dipping sauce made from silkworms, with new items in the works.
“When I became interested in venturing into this business, I sampled various insects, including crickets, which are one of the more popular edible critters,” says Takahiro Kajikuri, the co-founder of Ellie. “None tasted really good until I had the opportunity to try a fresh silkworm larvae. I knew this was it.”