Thomas Constant

Thomas Constant wants you to eat bugs – specifically ones you’ve bred in your own kitchen. The founder of BeoBia, a sustainable insect-growing pod, is on a mission to change our relationship with what we eat, reduce carbon emissions and reuse food waste – all by getting people to breed mealworms in their own homes.

While the insect protein market is growing, breeding them at home is the next frontier. However, the business might never have come to life had it not been for a bold move Thomas made at the beginning of his career, leaving the traditional path behind for the unknown.

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Gap in the bug market

Thomas came up with the DIY food idea while he was studying design and technology at Loughborough University. ‘The germ of the idea started with me looking at which global issues are predicted to damage the world this century,’ he says. Shocked by the environmental impact of intensive livestock farming, Thomas was drawn towards the innovations happening in alternative proteins.

While he found plenty of innovation in meat alternatives, from lab-grown burgers to insect protein, he found a gap in the market. ‘I wanted to find a way to empower people to grow their own source of protein,’ he says. He designed an eco pod in his final year, winning the university’s award for best commercially viable idea.

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On a base level, it seemed like a risk. But I realized: this is what I want, this is the only way.
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Fork in the road

When Thomas graduated, he started working as a designer in London, but the idea was still in the back of his mind. He found himself at a fork in the road when he was offered a full-time job at a prestigious agency on the same day he found out he’d been accepted onto a business incubator programme.

‘On a base level, it seemed like a risk,’ he says. ‘But when you think about it – or when you feel it – it becomes less risky. I realized: this is what I want, this is the only way.

In 2019, BeoBia (which means ‘food for life’ in Gaelic) ran a successful Kickstarter campaign, raising £23,000. The feedback from the campaign led to Thomas pivoting the company in a new direction.

The product – the eco pod – remains the same, but rather than marketing it to humans, it’s now about creating a sustainable solution for feeding pets. ‘I set up BeoBia with a clear mission: to do good for people and the planet,’ he says. ‘Sustainability will always be at its core.’

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‘Winning accolades consolidated the idea that we must be doing something right. At the start of the process, getting into an incubator really gave me the skill set to understand what I'm doing. It helped me grow as a person and gave me access to the kind of support that allowed me to develop this business. I wouldn't have been able to do that if I was by myself. Everything from sharing the office space with other small businesses to the mentorship really helped. I wouldn't be where I am now without that.’

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