Shortlisted by Loughborough Design School for 'The project with the most commercial potential.'
Eating insects (entomophagy) is uncommon in the West and has a degree of social stigma associated with it; however, it is a rapidly growing industry and a trend that Western millennials are increasingly interested in. 19% of young males in the UK are interested in trying food made from edible insects, (Mintel, 2015). The Economist predicts that by 2021 the entomophagy market will grow from $300 million to $1.3 billion.
Petite Farm empowers users to grow a healthy and sustainable food alternative, in a clean, simple and hygienic process.
Understanding current user and global trends was critical during this project. Petite Farm reflects the rise of young people’s desire to not only know where their food comes from, but also what’s in their food and the impact it has on their surroundings – whilst also mirroring people’s desire to reduce their emission footprint with reduced meat consumption.
Petite Farm allows millennials (specifically 22 to 30-year olds) to grow mealworms in their kitchen for use in cooking. Enough mealworms are produced to provide 2-3 meals a fortnight. The Petite Farm app supports and supplements users’ knowledge about insect dishes - helping them to get inspiration, while also connecting them with like-minded people.
Showcasing how users would interact with Petite Farm.
Petite Farm’s three development trays allows the mealworms to develop at staggered rates, enabling the user to have a continuous supply of mealworms. When ready to harvest, the user empties the contents of the mealworm development tray into the separator; which separates the contents into pupae (insects that are undergoing transformation between immature mealworms and mature beetles), mealworms, and their excrement.
The pupae are returned to the beetle inlay tray to keep the beetle population fresh. The mealworms can be stored in plastic tupperware boxes in the fridge for later use in cooking (much like a lobster, the torpid mealworms are removed from the fridge immediately prior to cooking). The excrement can then be used as high-grade plant fertiliser.
Concept refinement and model manufacturing photos.
Ideation, concept refinement, CAD, functional testing and model making was integral to this project.
Ching-He Huang interacting with Petite Farm.
Ching-He Huang, a British Chinese food writer and TV chef was interviewed to gain an understanding of current food trends, and also to garner her views on what the future holds for entomophagy.
The two main takeaway points from the evaluation with Ching were: firstly, people’s attitudes (especially young people) are rapidly changing to being more socially, ethically and sustainably aware; and secondly, Petite Farm is an excellent and novel concept that is increasingly more feasible as current trends accelerate.
The Petite Farm app supports and supplements users’ knowledge about insect dishes - helping them to get inspiration, while also connecting them with like-minded people.
Petite Farm. Good for you and our planet.