Interview with LEAP Protein

What made you want to start a business in the food industry (what problem are you solving or niche are you filling)?

From a young age, I have been environmentally conscious, looking for ways to reduce my ecological footprint, deciding to become a vegetarian at the age of 9. Pale and lacking energy as a teenager, I discovered that my poor vegetarian diet left me incredibly anaemic.

This lead me to become fascinated with health and nutrition and how food affects our bodies. I discovered that I wasn’t alone, many people with a western diet were suffering from malnourishment. But for myself, I sought a diet that aligned with my environmental values, yet still gave me the healthy essential nutrients I needed.

How was LEAP Protein born?

The epiphany of LEAP came to me when I heard about the fundamental nutrients you can get from introducing crickets into our diets. I researched the increasingly popular world of Entomophagy and discovered that are not only crickets good for you but they are the most sustainable protein source available. It aligned with my personal healthy eating ethics and when I introduced them to my diet I felt re energised. This is not suprising when looking at the nutritional composition of crickets, they are rich in iron, vitamin B12 and 69% protein plus contain many other essential micro nutrients

I wanted to spread the word, so the experiments began in my kitchen, blowing up a few mixers along the way, in the search for the perfect Power Bar with a difference. Using cricket powder as a replacement for other protein sources - the LEAP Power Bar was born!

Are you a solo business owner, family run business or partnership?

I’m the founder and business owner, with a team of friends, family and experts in the food industry behind me, assisting me to make it happen. 

What kind of food do you make?

LEAP makes tasty, nutrient dense and sustainable Power Bars made with Australian Cricket Powder.

We also sell Cricket Powder for use at home, as it gives a nutritional boost to any recipes as it is the leader of all proteins and much healthier than traditional protein powders.

Keeping in-line with sustainability each product is packaged in compostable packaging that is plastic-free and leaves zero waste. 

Who is your target market?

People that want to get more done! Whether a fitness fanatic climbing a mountain or an urban warrier getting through a mountain of work, these bars power them through it. The special formulations provide a tasty & healthy snack. Plus the sustainable packaging is made for the people of the world, that want to lower their ecological footprint.

 How do you sell your product?

The bars have been sold at Farmers Markets, online through our website and are taking the leap into retail outlets this Spring! This will include health food stores, gyms and pharmacys.

 What was the trigger for contacting The Business of Food

I was looking for assistance to get started and attended a Recipe to Retail Information session run by The Business of Food. I was also enrolling in the NEIS Program and knew that would cover the business planning side of getting started, but needed expert help with the food regulations, product development and industry contacts so I reached out to TBoF.

 What benefits have you discovered to using a Kitchen Incubator

Jane and her team assisted me with their expert guidance within the food sector. I have found their advice has been incredibly valuable in such an overwhelming and confusing area. They have provided a safe environment to share thoughts and ideas and receive relevant and constructive advice. Including website development tips and contacts for food technicians.

Many fantastic opportunities have come to me from within TBoF that I would otherwise not have been exposed to, they have opened up access to a whole ecosystem of experienced people and events within the food industry.

How do you plan to grow your business in the next 12 months

We’re leaping into retail outlets in Melbourne this Spring and plan to roll out nationally over the next 6 months. After recently being invited to compete in the Eureka Innovative Entrepreneurship Competition in China last month, LEAP is expected to expand internationally within 12 months of launching. 

Where can we buy your product?

At the moment the only place you can get hold of LEAP is online from Updates on farmers markets are posted on our Instagram and Facebook page and all stockist will be loaded onto the website within the coming months.

Anything else you would like to share

Without Jane’s knowledge and expertise I would still be trying to unravel the overwhelming challenges of taking food from recipe to retail. Starting a food business comes with many ups and downs and I feel I have been really supported along the way. I would recommend anyone looking to start a food business to reach out to TBoF, they are experts in their field and can help you avoid the pitfalls and open up opportunities to guide you along the way.

Do you have any tip(s) for someone establishing their own food business?

Persistence! Believe in your own product. Have a strong elevator pitch (30 seconds to explain your product/business).

Make sure you have a support network, especially if a solo entrepreneur - for encouragement, get assistance with the right direction etc. And try to enjoy it!

Jessica Wasteney - LEAP Protein

Jessica Wasteney - LEAP Protein

Kylie Suich