High Nutritious Content, Environmental Benefits Conferred by Edible Insects to Promote Greater Demand
Edible insects, although initially considered famine food, are now being included in regular diet by several people. The food culture of several countries – such as Malaysia, China, and Bangladesh – embraces both cooked and uncooked edible insects as a crucial part of their traditional recipes. Since edible insects are rich in essential minerals and amino acids, they are not just food for humans but also a key ingredient in animal feed.
Edible insects include cockroaches, bees, crickets, ants, termites, flies, wasps, beetles, scale insects, butterflies, moths, larvae, caterpillars, and grasshoppers. These insects are not only packed with protein, but also with vital minerals, good fats, and fiber. For example, mealworms contain as much of minerals, vitamins, and protein as that found in meat and fish.
Key drivers in the global market for edible insects
The growing preference for protein-rich food has been a key growth driver of the global market for edible insects. The rising population worldwide and greater costs of animal protein are accelerating the adoption of food insects in diets. Also, the belief that entomophagy, or the consumption of insects, has a positive effect on human health is aiding the growth of the market. Moreover, recent studies suggest that eating insects is not only good for health but has a favorable impact on the planet as well. According to experts, farming insects can emit ten times lesser greenhouse gases when compared to farming livestock.
Major regional consumers of edible insects
The global market for edible insects has been geographically segmented into Asia Pacific, North America, Europe, and the Rest of the World (RoW). Asia Pacific exhibits significant demand for edible insects and the edible insects market in this region is expanding at a considerable pace. Thailand, India, China, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia are likely to emerge as the key consumers of edible insects. In Thailand, for instance, it is common to find fried bugs served with beer. Several African countries are also expected to exhibit solid growth, driven by the nutritional value and easy availability of edible insects.
Factors restraining the growth of the global edible insects market
Lack of distribution and networking channels can restrict the growth of the market. Since a legal framework addressing the consumption of edible insects is absent, the market will display limited growth over the next few years. Moreover, negative perceptions about the consumption of insects and disgust associated with the idea of eating insects are the major challenges faced by the global market for edible insects. The growing shift from non-vegetarian, animal-based foodstuffs and ingredients to plant-based, vegetarian and vegan diets can also inhibit the growth of the market.