BioCiTi’s incubatee, Gourmet Grubb is using insects to develop a sustainable dairy alternative!

Gourmet Grubb, a BioCiTi incubatee founded in 2017, is a Biotechnology start-up that uses insects to develop a sustainable dairy alternative that is good for the environment and our health. This start-up is fuelled by a passion for solving challenges in the food industry, especially concerning unsustainable and unethical farming.


It all began in our kitchen. Jean and I lived in the same house at the time and spent countless hours creating and making insect-based bars in our kitchen. We also thought it would be a brilliant idea to farm our own mealworms at home, until we ran out of space and got tired of finding mealworms everywhere, even in our shoes and clothes. One brave little mealworm even managed to secure a trip to Mauritius with Jean who, upon landing, unpacked his bag and found this ambitious critter in his clothes.

– Leah Bessa, Co Founder of Gourmet Grubb.


CiTi sees enormous potential in biotechnology as a technology that can do good and make a positive impact on people’s lives. The African continent has experienced nascent activity in biotech, but not many of the ideas or products are coming to fruition in a commercial sense and from the perspective of being able to take it to market or to scale. BioCiTi, established by CiTi in 2019, is a specialised biotech incubator that provides African entrepreneurs with a platform where science, business and investment can come together.


The founders of Gourmet Grubb state that when it comes to their biggest challenges as a start-up in South Africa must be the access to and lack of Venture Capital funding, less resources, long lead times, lack of interaction and engagement with consumers during COVID, government funding delays and a decreased capacity of co-manufacturers. Despite these growing challenges, they are always delighted to marvel at the strides they have made, especially since they are innovating a new product and introducing a novel product to consumers. This is a big feat for any start-up!


The team believes that the start-up sector in South Africa is definitely growing, especially with an increase in international funding coming into the country and if they were to one day be featured in a magazine for their work, they believe the title would read, “Gourmet Grubb changes the face of insects as a food industry”.


In parting, the team at Gourmet Grubb live by these words, “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere” – Albert Einstein.


To learn more about Gourmet Grubb’s work or to collaborate.


Are you in the biotechnology industry with an idea, concept, product or service that needs assistance to get to the market? Then you should apply to be a part of the next BioCiTi cohort.


To read more and apply follow this link.

Fiona Tabraham

Fiona Tabraham is a strategic workforce development expert with a career founded on a resolute commitment to inclusivity, talent nurturing, and societal impact. Chief Executive of CAPACITI Digital Career Accelerator, Fiona’s passion for equity has charted pathways across numerous organisations, guiding bespoke Talent Initiatives, Future Leadership Development Programs, and transformative Career Pathway Development. Her tenure at Network Rail bore inclusive talent strategies, STEM advocacy, and innovative Graduate, Apprentice, and Internship initiatives. A trusted partner to a number of governmental, corporate and impact driven entities, Fiona empowers individuals and organisations, fostering diverse recruitment practices and innovative talent strategies. Fiona’s impact transcends the tech sector, positioning her as a leading voice for inclusive digital career initiatives.