Business Gateway helps Edinburgh’s Insect Café spread its wings

Business Gateway helps Edinburgh's Insect Café spread its wings

An Edinburgh bakery that uses insect protein in its products is set to expand its operations after receiving support from Business Gateway.

Launched by Nahla Mahmoud in October 2023, The Insect Café use four varieties of insects in its baking process and offers nutritious and sustainable alternatives such as cricket brownies and mealworm cakes. The bakery’s products are high in protein and have a low carbon footprint, using UK suppliers for the insects themselves.

With no butter, preservatives, or artificial ingredients, and a focus on making nutritious food accessible and affordable, the café has gained popularity at Edinburgh’s Grassmarket Market, which takes place on the first and third Saturday of every month. She’s had a positive reaction to her bakes and is naturally met with curiosity, so she can let people know the benefits.

Nahla, who has recently been able to leave her full-time job to focus on the business, draws inspiration from her travels and childhood recipes. She is now looking to increase the number of locations where she sells her baking, including potentially looking at premises for a café.

The Insect Café won in the ‘individual cake’ category for their Larva cocktail ball at the National Scottish Baker of the Year Awards 2024/25 and was also nominated in the Customer Choice category.

Business Gateway helps Edinburgh's Insect Café spread its wings

Local Business Gateway adviser Jeff Hume helped Nahla on her business journey, providing 1:1 support, and signposted her to seminars and webinars on marketing, business planning, growth planning, market research and employment.

Through Business Gateway, Nahla was also signposted to a start-up grant from the City of Edinburgh Council which helped her set-up the business. She was also able to take on her first two members of staff, summer interns, thanks to the support.

Looking to the future, she plans to make use of Business Gateway’s research service to identity new locations to exhibit at, as well as helping Nahla with looking for an ideal premises to set up a permanent café.

She said: “My Business Gateway adviser Jeff has been a fantastic support in setting up my business and helping me with growth. The whole service is a brilliant support.

“It’s an unusual business concept but is one I truly believe in, and I’ve had a lot of happy returning customers who see the health benefits and appreciate the delicious bakes.”

Jeff said: “Working with someone who is as passionate as Nahla is about her business has been fantastic. She has worked hard to build her business and the fact she is seeing such progress and can look to the future for her brand is really exciting and shows her enthusiasm.

“We’ve been glad to be able to support her on her journey and to provide her with specialist advice that’s been key to growing her business.”

Share icon
Share this article: