Ivana Dvořáková’s first encounter with crickets was during a school presentation about the sustainability of crickets. After that presentation, Ivana and some of her friends went to a pet store and bought their first crickets which they then tried. From the start she thought it tasted amazing. It was always Ivana’s dream to have a business of her own. Due to her love for sustainability, and being involved in the field, she started to see the things that were missing. One of those things was the perception of crickets. “Crickets had a bad reputation, and we thought that that had to change.” That is where the idea for Terraz Food came to life. Terra means planet, and Teraz means now in Slovak. That is also the view that Ivana and co-founder Martin have for what Terraz brings to the market. “Now is time to think about your nature, and to think about yourself.”
The idea to make pasta out of crickets came from Ivana’s love for pasta. This cricket pasta is more nutritious than conventional pasta. “We want to change the view that pasta is a quick side dish.” The fact that this pasta is more nutritious, means that it can be eaten as a full meal instead of as a side dish. “We are not just selling pasta, we are also selling a way of living.” There are 8 billion people in the world, and it is impossible to feed us all with the current agriculture.
“We need to find better solutions to the nutrition of human beings.” Terraz Food’s way to do this is by showing people that crickets are amazing, delicious, and that they are the future. “We need to change eating behavior. We need to be more sustainable.”
Ivana was looking for ways to reach the Dutch market when she encountered WorldStartup via a startup platform. “I had no idea that it would be so amazing.” Due to WorldStartup, she has been able to learn more about the Dutch market, which is great because the Dutch market is more open to cricket products. Recently, Ivana finished the Market Readiness training. It took 3 intensive weeks of training, that due to Covid-19, was offered online for the first time. Ivana mentioned that the Market Readiness training was inspiring and educational as you need to go deep into what your company stands for and answer the hard questions. “It was challenging, but I love it.” Besides this training, Ivana mentions that WorldStartup helped with networking, obtaining contacts, and the mentorship that she received also helped with her knowledge of the Dutch market. Ivana also participated in the New Business Summit 2020, where she had to pitch in front of 250 people. “I had the opportunity to test my product, valadate and even gained a new customer.”
In a month Terraz Food will start a new production, and they will create some new products. Ivana gave us a sneak peek as to what these products are. Lentil pasta, and Spirulina pasta. They are also looking to implement some vegan versions of their pastas. These new versions are aimed at tasting like normal pasta. This new production is also part of their goals for this year. “We are going to be focusing on other things than just cricket pasta.” Besides the new production, Ivana mentions that Terraz Food wants to grow in sales, be profitable, and be the trendsetters in the superfood pasta market. In the future, Ivana would also love to open a Terraz Bistro.
Ivana does not believe that entrepreneurship is necessarily something genetic. Her entrepreneurial behaviour comes from the studies. “If it is something that you want, then it is your obligation to start it and do what you need to achieve it.” Terraz Food used to do festivals as testing opportunities, which was a great way to receive feedback. “If you had no idea how bugs taste, you would not notice that there are insects inside.” When asked if there is anything that she would have done differently, Ivana mentioned that she wished she hadn’t waited as long to put the idea into action. “I would try to hesitate less. It’s better to just do something and then tweaky it along the way.” That is also why her advice to anyone looking to start a Startup is the same “They shouldn’t stop when they encounter some problems at the beginning.” She mentions that the main issue with a lot of startups is that they lose motivation at the beginning. “The hardest part is to start.”