Exo: “the future of protein”

Exo is a maker of insect protein products, specifically focusing on using cricket protein/flour to make protein bars. Their major online channel appears to be their website; from their website, they have a webstore to purchase the protein bars, a mailing list popup, coupons and friend referral tools, and an updated blog as well as educational content to inform consumers of the origins of Exo as well as the benefits of insect protein. They also have a Facebook page, and a twitter profile, but these each only have a few thousand followers. One important note is that they also ran a successful Kickstarter page to raise over $50,000 to start their company to produce cricket-flour based protein bars.

Their position in the market seems to be targeted towards forward-thinking, health and eco conscious consumers who probably have a bit more disposable income. They sell boxes of protein bars for $36, and each box comes with 12 bars for a price of $3/bar with free shipping. While this price point is a little steeper than typical sugary candies and snacks, they offer free shipping and a plethora of coupons, especially if you are able to refer friends. The pricing is on par with higher end organic protein bars, such as cliff bars.

Since Exo is such a unique product, it must communicate a value proposition which can overcome the barrier of eating insects for sustenance. However, by using insect protein, they are able to create a protein product which is as healthy as most other meat-based proteins; more protein per serving, with more or comparable fat levels. To be honest, there doesn’t seem to be a demonstrable health benefit, however there is true value in the environmental impact of using cricket flour. They cite statistics such as 20x more efficient to use crickets as a protein source than cattle. So, with a product that can at least rival the nutritional benefits of traditional meats but is far more sustainable, Exo’s value proposition is a edible protein bar that does not contribute to ecological destruction associated with using other types of protein, such as meat or dairy.

Along these lines, I think Exo is somewhat successful communicating this to their target audience. They were able to surpass their Kickstarter funding goal of $20,000 and raised nearly $60,000 total from their campaign. Clearly, there are consumers who value the idea of sustainable insect protein enough to donate money to their Kickstarter campaign. They also have a very snappy packaging and labeling, as well as website design and layout which will probably appeal to their target demographic. However, they only have a few thousand likes on their Facebook page, a few thousand Twitter followers, and they do not have many journal updates on their website. They seem to be actively taking orders and presumably shipping their product, but there does not seem to be much more buzz from the company since their Kickstarter campaign and a couple articles.

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