Insects can be a rich source of fat, protein, vitamins, fibre and minerals. The composition of unsaturated omega-3 and six fatty acids in mealworms is comparable to that in fish and higher than in beef and pork, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
As per FAO, Entomophagy or insect-eating could play a key role in food security and environmental protection. Globally, at least 2 billion people eat insects and more than 1,900 species have been used for food.
Apart from offering a nutritious diet, they are an inexpensive source of animal protein. The current Global Edible insects market size is around $423.8 million. It is predicted to exceed $722.9 million by 2024, as per the latest research report by Persistence Market Research (PMR).
The edible insect market can be divided into – Caterpillar, Termites, Beetles, Grasshoppers, Locusts, Mealworm and others. Moreover, it can also be segmented by application type – Human feed, Animal feed, and others. While Geographically, as – North America, APAC, Europe and Rest of the World (RoW) regions.
Why expect a boom in the edible insects industry?
- According to the UN’s FAO report, raising insects for food emits considerably fewer greenhouse gases than raising most traditional protein sources.
- Insect rearing involves low capital investment as compared to that needed for chicken, cattle, and swine.
- The demand for gluten-free food has been rising because of their increasing popularity among the health-enthusiasts. Edible insects have proven to be naturally gluten-free.
- CNN says “Scientists have found that the Pacific Beetle Cockroach feeds its bug babies a formula which is remarkably rich in protein, fat, and sugar”.Possibility of becoming the next Super food; cockroach milk 😉
- Low raw material price, hence an inexpensive source of energy
- Insects contain high protein and amino acids and can be a sustainable food source in future.
- Farming of edible insects would spur agricultural growth and is great for the economic growth as well
- Increased cost of Animal Protein
- Lactose-free; food for lactose intolerant beings
Barriers to Growth
- Negative perception about insect consumption among consumers; often considered as mere pests for animals and crops
- Lack of networking and distribution channels among producers
- Hindrance due to cultural barriers
- Uncertainty surrounding legal standards and guidelines
As per Finnish marketing firm Ivenire, the consumer base of edible insects has ben classified into 3 key parts :
- People looking for an experience
- Trendsetters who want to be leaders
- Sustainability supporters who want to change their consumption habits
According to United Nations, global population in 2050 is expected to reach 9 billion, significantly outgrowing existing food resources. What do you think, would the consumption of insects act as the last resort then, and eventually become a necessity? Share your opinions in the comments section below.