Edible Insects Market and Future Prospects

Posted by Spencer Doepel on

                                       Edible Insects Market and Future Prospects

Increasing world population pressure will create serious problem of food security in coming future. Entomophagy is the consumption of insects by humans, is practiced in many countries around the world but predominantly in parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America yet it has not been fully used and developed as a food source. It has the potential of great interest as a possible solution due to their many advantages: (i) they are an important source of protein, fat, carbohydrate and other nutrients; (ii) their use as food has ecological advantages over conventional livestock and, in the long run, economic benefits; (iii) Their rich species diversity and large populations bring diversity in diet menu. In this article we will review the future prospects of edible insect market and why should we eat Insects.

The global increase in demand for meat and the limited land area available prompt the search for alternative protein sources. Also the sustainability of meat production has been questioned.

The demand for animal protein is expected to increase globally by 76 % from 2005/ 2007 to 2050, while the land area used by livestock is already more than two-thirds of all agricultural land (68 %; FAOSTAT, consulted August 2015). The increased demand in this time period is mainly from developing countries (113 %), less from developed countries (27 %)

 Because of environmental, health and animal welfare concerns, alternative protein sources other than conventional meat are being considered. Insects present such an alternative and can be considered either as human food and or as feed for livestock.

Edible insects as an alternative protein source for human food and animal feed are interesting in terms of low greenhouse gas emissions, high feed conversion efficiency, low land use, and their ability to transform low value organic side streams into high value protein products. Worldwide, over 2000 species of insects are consumed by human. Representatives from almost all insect groups are eaten: beetles (31 %), caterpillars (18 %), wasps, bees and ants (15 %), crickets, grasshoppers and locusts (13 %), true bugs (11 %), and termites, dragonflies, flies and others
 (12 %).

In the Western world, there is an increasing interest in edible insects, and examples are given. Insects as feed, in particular as aqua feed, have a large potential. Edible insects have about the same protein content as conventional meat. They may also have some beneficial health effects.

Food safety may be affected by toxicity of insects, contamination with pathogens, spoilage during conservation and allergies. Consumer attitude is a major issue in the Western world and a number of strategies are proposed to encourage insect consumption.

Current Market Value and Future Prospects
The growth of global edible insect market gaining pace rapidly, accounting for $772.9 million at the CAGR of 6.1% over the forecast period 2016-2024.

 The clearest economic picture of the edible insect trade comes from South-East Asia, where there are well-established farms and trade routes. Export and import of insects for food plays a strong economic role throughout South-East Asia – the import market in Thailand alone is valued at $1.14million per year. Market value for insects often exceeds that of other standard protein sources, insect farming can provide a stable income for established farmers. Medium-sized farms, which produce roughly 500–750 kg of crickets, four to five times a year, can get net incomes of $4270–9970.

Estimates place the value of insects as food and feed for the combined market in the US, Belgium, France, UK, The Netherlands, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Brazil and Mexico at 25.1 million GBP for 2015, with a predicted growth to 398 million GBP by 2023. Many companies in USA like Bitty, Chapul, cricket flours, and Crunchy critters are offering wide range of edible insect products.

 This growth is predicted to be largely driven by increased consumer awareness and acceptance of insects as food. These growth predictions present a great opportunity for new businesses, particularly in developing countries.

Why Eat Insets?
Overall, Entomophagy can be promoted for three reasons:

  • Health: Many insects are rich in proteins, calcium, good fat, iron and zinc. They are healthy and nutritious replacement for traditional staples like chickens, pork, beef and even fish.
  • Environment Friendly: Insects promoted as food emit considerably fewer greenhouse gases (GHGs) than most livestock. Insect rearing is not necessarily a land-based activity and does not require land clearing to expand production. The ammonia emissions associated with insect rearing are also far lower than those linked to conventional livestock, such as pigs.
  • Economic and Social Factors: Insect harvesting/rearing is a low-tech, low-capital investment option that offers entry even to the poorest sections of society, such as women and the landless persons.

Research to date indicates that insects could play an important role in addressing the impending protein supply crisis. Overall, insects contain sufficient levels of protein, fats and micronutrients to contribute to improvements in global health and food security, both via direct consumption and indirect use in feeds. In addition, research has demonstrated that insects can have a smaller environmental footprint and a higher economic value than other livestock protein sources; they are unlikely to pose significant microbial risks; they appear to cause allergic reactions in individuals with known arthropod allergies; and the majority of people from Western societies are comfortable with insects being used as animal feed but hesitant about consuming them directly. Future research should address questions related to the scaling up of insect production to commercial levels

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