Crickets are an interesting source of protein because of their high protein content and the higher environmental friendliness in terms of location, food, and water. The Mae Tad Community Enterprise at Huai Sai Sub-district, San Kamphaeng District, Chiang Mai Province, has been breeding and selling frozen crickets to generate income for the community. However, due to the rise of cricket farming, thus causing greater price competition and the need for novelty, the community enterprise felt the need to develop new cricket-based products to add value to the product and increase its competitive capacity. They, therefore, consulted with a team of researchers at the CMU Faculty of Agro-industry’s Food Engineering Division to develop a new product in collaboration with the Government Savings Bank (GSB) which funded the research project through the Aomsin Yuwaphat Rakthin Project, which is a GSB local development project designed to strengthen and develop local wisdom by working together with students from higher educational institutes. The result is a high-protein cricket powder and cricket breadsticks of which the ‘know-how’ has been shared with the enterprise to put the products into production.
The cricket powder is made by drying frozen crickets and then removing oil to achieve the desired qualities and ease of storage. Then, the crickets are ground into a fine powder that can be baked into various kinds of snacks such as high-protein, non-fried bread crackers that come in two flavors – milk & butter and almond. Another product is the cricket bread sticks made from a mixture of bread flour, all-purpose flour, and cricket powder which also comes in beautiful, new packaging. This cricket powder is an outstanding achievement in the application of knowledge learned in class for the benefit of the community. Behind this research were four students from the Food Engineering Division: Mr. Puthanet Boonmalert, Ms. Chalida Phimsri, Ms. Natthanicha Rattanothai, and Ms. Wanitchaya Somboon. Their supervisors were Assistant Professor Dr. Akkasit Jongjareonrak and Assistant Professor Dr. Pattavara Pathomrungsiyonggul.
Seeing the increasing growth of cricket farming and export, the researchers recognized the opportunity to bring knowledge to the community and to help elevate production to increase the competitive capacity by educating the enterprise on finance and accounting to create financial stability, as well as increasing marketing channels to reach the target group of health enthusiasts to catch up with the current trend of exploring insects as an alternative source of protein.
It is CMU’s mission to encourage students to use the knowledge learned in class to work with the community and to create new products that will generate income sustainably. If you are interested in the cricket breadsticks or any other products by the Mae Tad Community Enterprise, visit their Facebook page at Kinmaeng, or call 080-924-1598.