Thai Entrepreneur Transforms Silkworm into Future Food

Thai Entrepreneur Transforms Silkworm into Future Food

Sirikarn Poldaeng started Erawan Crispy to produce high protein snacks from local fried insects.

She received much help and training from the DITP, especially exporting products.

During Covid, she adapted business to focus on online sells aimed at Gen Z.

Future food is a new trend among food and eco lovers. Now, there are many plant-based and alternate food products on supermarket shelves. Sensing this trend Sirikarn Poldaeng, owner of Erawan Crispy, decided to leave her job in a hotel to develop an alternative snack made from fried insects. 

“I started Erawan Crispy because I wanted to go back to my home province and take care of my family in Surin,” says Poldaeng. “First, I tried a bakery, but the shelf-life of products was too short, so I began to think about what Surin is famous for, and I realised that Surin silk is very well-known.”

“I wondered what people did with the silkworms after they have produced the silk, and saw that most Isan people eat or sell the silkworms and crickets after the farming season. Much research shows that they are high in protein. Four fried crickets have the same amount of protein as a glass of milk. That’s how Erawan Crispy started.”

Poldaeng joined the DITP’s Tonkla to Goal project to learn more about exporting. That is when she realised there was an international market interested in future food and ready to explore new products. 

“I first thought this was something only for locals, but joining the Tonkla to Goal project helped me a lot,” she says. “The DITP also assisted me with business matching, and provided the opportunity to join events such as BCG Project Hong Kong, as well as showcasing my products in Miami.”

Erawan Crispy can now be bought via both offline and online platforms. Covid forced Polfaeng to adapt a lot, but with the help of the connections she had made during DITP projects, she was able to pull through. 

“During Covid, I had to shift my selling platform online, starting to use all the platforms possible, such as Shopee, Lazada and Instagram. Next, we’re aiming to sell on Alibaba, as I think it fits with Gen Z customers,” she says. “We also got help from the Chamber of Commerce and Board of Trade of Thailand and Super Food committee on producing and selling during this difficult time.”

Erawan Crispy comes in four flavours: BBQ, tom yum, cheese and paprika.

“We learned that these are our customers’ favourite flavours, especially those in Hong Kong, China, Japan and Cambodia. Most customers are Gen Z who love to try future food and new things,” she says. 

In the future, Polfaeng wants to expand their client base into Europe and the US. 

“We have elevated our standards,” she says. “We have made sure our factory meets all the requirements, and we have all the certificates we need. We would like to expand into Europe and the US as well.”

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Words by Ploylada Sirachadapong 

Photo courtesy of Erawan Crispy