AUSTIN, TEXAS — Aspire Food Group, a company specializing in edible insect farming technology, has acquired Exo, maker of cricket-based protein bars. The merger will combine Exo’s product line into Aspire’s data-driven farming operations and supply chain to “create new products and fuel the future growth of both customer bases and the larger industry in general,” Aspire said. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Exo manufactures paleo-friendly, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free and grain-free protein bars made with cricket flour. Available in cocoa nut, banana bread, PB & J, blueberry vanilla and apple cinnamon flavors, the bars deliver 10 grams of protein each.
Aspire produces Aketta brand cricket flour as well as cricket protein granola and whole roasted crickets. The cricket flour, made with 100% milled crickets, is non-G.M.O., soy-free, dairy-free and gluten-free. The powder contains 20 grams of protein per 30 grams and has a “deep, earthy umami flavor with hints of raw cocoa,” Aspire said. Aketta cricket protein granola, available in maple cashew and nutty chocolate chip varieties, contains 6 grams of protein per ¼ cup serving. The granolas are grain-free, dairy-free, gluten-free and soy-free. Aketta whole roasted crickets, featuring 20 grams of protein per 30 grams, are processed using dry heat and “have a taste and smell profile of sunflower seeds and roasted nuts,” Aspire said. Varieties include original, Texas BBQ, Totally Taco, sour cream and onion, sea salt and vinegar and spicy hot.
“By joining together under one enterprise and seizing on the opportunity for vertical integration, we are taking Aspire and our newly acquired brand, Exo, to the next level,” said Mohammed Ashour, chief executive officer of Aspire. “With Exo’s products and community and Aspire’s farming technology leadership, we are greatly reinforcing our pioneering position within this rapidly emerging industry.”
As part of the acquisition, all Aspire-produced products will become part of the Exo brand. Aspire’s Aketta brand cricket-based protein powder will become the key ingredient for all combined product lines in the future. The companies also have begun developing new product lines to be released in the coming months, Aspire said.
“Combining product lines and supply chains better equips us to succeed in our shared mission of fighting global food insecurity and promote insects as a healthy, everyday food source,” Mr. Ashour said. “This is a giant leap forward for the whole edible insect industry.”