The end of Anteater

Less than three years after its founding, Christchurch-based edible insect start-up Anteater has announced that it is closing its doors. The company was formed in May 2016 after a start-up conference in Christchurch by Peter Randrup and Bex De Prospo. The company initially targeted high-end restaurants and chefs, and won plaudits from names such as Michael Meredith, Giulio Sturla of Roots and Jacob Kear, formerly of Clooney.

In a post for The Spinoff, Anteater co-founder Bex De Prospo wrote that the intention was to “get the best chefs in the country on board, let the mainstream follow.” It worked – for nearly three years Anteater products were featured at all New Zealand’s top restaurants, and the company collaborated with TEDx and Garage Project.

De Prospo and Randrup, in an effort to upscale, began working on gaining funding on a huhu grub farm. Ultimately this bid was rejected, and export queries went nowhere.

“Maybe in five years, New Zealand will be ready for an edible insect revolution and we’ll have delicious bug burgers on our supermarket shelves,” she wrote. “Or maybe lab-grown meats and plant-based proteins will take off, and edible insects will never be anything more than a small niche.”