Rentokil, A global company of pest control, is arranging for the second time a set of events called the ”pestaurant”. The Pestaurant is a pop-up street kitchen offering insect food around the world. According to their website on the 3rd of June there will pestaurants open in 13 different countries. The events raises multiple questions that I will be now discussing here in this blog.
Why Rentokil is arranging Pestaurant events?
Why Rentokil, a pest control company ,is involved in food industry? Their business is about killing the pests with e.g poison, but now they are associating their name with food. This is according my knowledge against the very basic brand building and marketing rules to do such a thing. Will people to come to them asking for insect based food later? Will people think that insect have been collected from some industry building where they were first killed with poison?
In the Australian pestaurant-event page an explanation is given:
“The aim of Rentokil’s Pestaurant is to raise your awareness of common pest problems and demonstrate our commitment to professional pest control and innovation, helping us to stay one step ahead of the natural evolution of pests.
Our team of experts are available to offer valuable advice and top tips on how to avoid a pest infestation in your home or at work. Contact us today to arrange a FREE survey.
This event motivates you to be more adventurous with your food and aims to promote the health benefits of an insect rich diet already enjoyed by billions across the globe. Encouraged and promoted by the UN as a viable food source, eating insects (entomophagy) can enrich your diet with higher levels of protein, zinc and calcium – not to mention their low-in-fat status.”
With such an event Rentokil does indeed increase their brand knowledge among the people, but how does offering insect food increase their credibility as effective pest control company?
Why is the event called Pestaurant?
A quick look to Wikipedia gives you a description of the word “Pest” as following: “A pest is a plant or animal detrimental to humans or human concerns (as agriculture or livestock production)”. Calling the event Pestaurant confuses the consumer even more. How come Rentokil is offering us pests, things that are detrimental to us?
Are the insects they are offering even pests?
The different events offer different foods. The lists include mealworms, crickets, locusts, ants, buffalo worms, water beetles and scorpions. From the list few are clear pests, but water beetles at least do not fit the description.
The biggest question: Ignoring the legislation.
From the 13 countries involved Estonia, Lithuania, Ireland, UK and Germany are EU member states. From these countries only UK has taken an official stand against the EU regulations banning insect bases products from human consumption. It is known that the food and health authorities have allowed some insect food events in the countries, but certainly Rentokil is in the gray area here.
What surprised me the most is a piece of text in the German event page “The insects were not self-bagged, but especially farmed for the human consumption according to European food standard.”
The claim that the insect were farmed according to “European food standard” is very misleading as there is no such thing. The food standard they are referring to is possibly the guidelines given by Belgium food safety authorities, but certainly there no such thing as “European food standard” for insect products. From the countries outside of EU I do not know the legislation.
Link to Pestaurant’s homepage. From this link you find further links to the events of different countries: