On the up · 27 June 2016

This new business is bringing the nutritional value of edible insects to the British public

Jimini's insects
Would you be willing to give edible insects a try?

From French origins to a foray into the British market, edible insects business JIMINI’S is tapping into modern food trends to produce an offering already attracting the interests of Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason.

(1) Who are you and what’s your business?

JIMINI’S is a French startup designing and making delicious products with insects. Our goal is quite simple: we want to make people change their mind about edible insects so they can enjoy the high nutritional value of this food and lower the environmental impact of our occidental diets.

We make protein bars and seasoned insects in our own factory near Paris, France. My name is Constance Deseine and I am in charge to develop the UK market, I am also the very first employee of the team.

(2) How long have you been around for?

Clément Scellier & Bastien Rabastens launched JIMINI’S by the end of 2013 in France. Now you can find our products in France, Belgium, Netherlands and England since we opened a new office in London in January 2016.

(3) How do you make money?

We sell our edible insects in fine food groceries, independent shops, food halls, concept stores, and on our website (which will be also in English in September 2016). Actually we have around 300 stockists in France, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Austria and Slovenia. In the UK, you can find our insects at Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason and Planet Organic, and soon in other places.

(4) What makes you different and why should people take notice?

When JIMINI’S was created, we did our best to eradicate the “yuk factor” by establishing a strong and trustable brand, with high quality products adapted to acquired tastes with nice tastes and to be accessible to everyone.

Moreover, we have our own factory and this is a key point: we are always working on new products and try to improve the one that already are on the market. We also work exclusively with EU farmers, which is a guarantee for quality, security and transparency for our clients.

(5) What was key in terms of getting started?

Stay focused! At the very beginning, we wanted to do everything, saying yes to every opportunity and losing a lot of money and energy. Our business is not about sprinting, actually it is more a marathon before a sprint: we have to educate a market, find the good partners, producing high quality products, develop our community. It is very hard to stay focused, but this builds a solid business plan and it’s worth it.

Jimini's insect foodConstance Desein

(6) What’s your biggest achievement to date?

We are very proud of our team of 11 happy insects eaters, and we’ve had almost one million people eat insects all over Europe. We have achieved a lot, and more is coming.

(7) What setbacks have you had along the way?

There were a lot, and for sure it is not over. We had to manage some complicated situations, this is a niche business, and there are a lot of competitors that want to be on it. We are not satisfied of our current rank in terms of online sales, but we are working on it.

(8) In five years’ time, I will be…

Offering our clients a portion of healthy and sustainable proteins made from insects at the same price than meat or vegetable, with a lower impact on the planet. We don’t want to replace meat, but we believe in a more sustainable future where you will mix meat, fish, insects, vegetable proteins, micro algae’s in your diet.

(9) What one tip would you give to others starting out?

Stay focused on your goals and go out of the office. Being an entrepreneur like Clément and Bastien, or opening a new market, means you will always be trying to go further. Stay focused on the key points of your business and go step by step even if you have time at the beginning. Every decision has to be taken with care, but keep your agility, establish clear processes and try to put ROI monitoring on every move you make.

Second tip (yes, you asked for one, but this one is also important) go meet people that are more experienced that you are and learn from them. If you are lucky, they will help you and open their network to you. A lot of opportunities came from people we met on meet-ups, shows, contests and events.

(10) Who are your business heroes and why?

At JIMINI’S we are fans of French entrepreneurs Michel and Augustin who have been able to build a great food company, starting with cookies and a pinch of marketing. They started in their kitchen and now are expanding in the US with Starbucks.

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Hunter Ruthven was previously editor of Business Advice. He was also the editor of Real Business, the UK's most-read website for entrepreneurs and business leaders at the helm of growing SMEs.