Meet Skye Blackburn, a founder giving a food trend legs.
Edible Bug Shop and Circle Harvest Founder Skye Blackburn wakes up daily with more than just a mission to grow her business. She has taken on the task of changing consumer psychology in Australia surrounding entomography. Skye’s efforts have resulted in standing alongside some of Australia's best chefs, teaching them the power of substitution for not just taste but wellbeing.
Skye is one of Australia's pioneers of the alternative industries insect market. As an entomologist and food scientist passionate about sustainable food practices, Skye launched The Edible Bug Shop in 2007 as Australia's first edible insect farmer. Today, she is a world leader in Edible Insect farming techniques focused on overcoming the western perception of insects as a protein source through education.
Using media appearances, collaborations and cooking demonstrations with the likes of Kylie Kwong, Skye is passionate to share the protein's potential to expand our taste buds and excite consumers about the opportunity to reduce their own environmental footprint.
"At the time, there was a shortage of food scientists so I thought, I'll just do a degree in food science so that when I finish uni I can get a job."
With her deep and educated understanding of food and a trip to Thailand, Skye returned with a fire in her belly and a new business idea. Skye created lollipops with actual bugs in the middle to sell at a pet and animal expo. The idea was a success, and further research allowed her to develop the product into a nutritional and delicious snack.
The more Skye learned, her eyes were opened to opportunity - "I was actually so shocked that no one was eating them as food because they were just so high in everything and had a complete amino acid profile."
Still wrestling with the negative public perception of eating insects, Skye keeps proactive on shifting this.
"The media and social media play such an important role in providing accessible and positive information around what it really looks like to include insect-based ingredients as part of your everyday diet," said Skye.
Today, Skye sells her products, including cricket tortilla chips and roasted mealworms on her website, and is a voice for the sector.