The global edible insects market size is likely to witness noteworthy growth during the forecast period of 2018 to 2025. Edible insects are generally economical and sustainable protein sources for animals and humans. They constitute of several nutrients and micronutrients such as copper, magnesium, manganese, selenium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, and fatty acids. They ensure reducing calories and obesity and are highly nutritious even to livestock when offered as feed. Growing demand for protein-rich food along with burgeoning popularity of ready-to-eat meals and convenience foods is poised to stoke the growth of the market.
Declining resources of seafood, coupled with restrictions imposed on fishing in several countries, are projected to work in favor of the market. Husbandry of most of the animals for their meat requires a larger area as against production of edible insects. Increasing feed and food insecurity and high cost of animal proteins is expected to propel growth of this market. In Europe, the demand for edible insects is strong owing to minimal risk of disease transfer.
Developing and underdeveloped countries are exhibiting an immense scope of growth for this industry over the coming years. Owing to their ability to be easily digested, the demand for these insects as a vital source of nutrients for malnourished children is slated to increase considerably over the coming years. On the flip side, shortage of distribution and networking channels and lack of regulatory framework regarding their safety may pose constraints towards the growth of the market.
Extensive research and development activities in the field have been pivotal in boosting growth opportunities for the global edible insects market. Researchers have been trying to find out new species that can be used as fuel as well as feed. For instance, researchers from the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) discovered a new species of crickets in Kenya in November 2018. These crickets, which can act as an alternative ingredient for protein in animal feeds, can be produced in mass for human consumption. The researchers are studying the anatomy of the insect in order to develop proper rearing techniques and effectively incorporate the species as a component in feed and food.
Some of the commonly consumed edible insects are caterpillars, bees, wasps, ants, true bugs, beetles, grasshoppers, locusts, caterpillars, and crickets. The consumption of caterpillars is estimated to be high throughout the forecast period as they are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and proteins and can be easily harvested. Rise in the demand for grasshoppers and locusts can be attributed to their low cholesterol levels and richness in protein. Edible insects can be used as whole in dishes or as an ingredient in bars, snacks, and flour, among others.
North America and Europe are expected to be significant revenue contributors in the global arena due to surging demand for high protein diets and increasing usage of crickets in farming techniques. Increasing shift towards production of edible insects due to low water requirement and less greenhouse gas emissions is also expected to positively influence the growth of the regional markets.
In Asia Pacific, edible insects are a part of street food in countries such as China and Thailand. Due to the presence of various nutrients and micronutrients, they are used in the bakery and confectionary items such as bread, biscuits, bars, and desserts. Rising population and abundance of raw materials have been contributing to the market in the region.
The global edible insects market is marked by presence of several local and small players due to low investment required. Large players have been consolidating their position by maximizing nutritional value of their offering. Companies have been paying attention to packaging and new product development to bolster their sales. Some of the prominent companies operating in the market are EnviroFlight; Haocheng Mealworm Inc.; AgriProtein; Entomo Farms; Kreca V.O.F., LLC; Reese Finer Foods Inc.; and Entotech.
Research Support Specialist, USA