Wanna grab a bug?

Idea of an insect on your plate….Disgusting or intriguing? From bugs being invaders of food to being the food,the perception of insects has come a long way. Insects are an affordable and nutritious source of food. Though insects traditionally played an important role in the dietary system of various ethnic groups of world, over the time people discontinued. Nevertheless evidences of insect consumption can be seen in various ethnic tribes of India. The members of various tribes choose the edible insects on the basis of their traditional belief, taste and regional and seasonal availability. In India,some ethnic people of Arunachal Pradesh consume about 158 species of insects, whereas tribes of Nagaland consume around 42 species of insects, in some parts of rural Andhra and Tamil Nadu fried ants is a delicacy.

Insect consumption and production have increased significantly across the globe. Alternative proteins are estimated to make up 33% (i.e. 311 million metric tons, MMTs) of global protein consumption by 2054, with insects accounting for about 11% of the alternative protein market. Approximately 34 MMT of insects will be consumed globally by 2054 (Lux research). A brief market landscape of insect protein reveals that Asia is a leading market with Thailand, China and Vietnam being consumption centers whereas in Europe UK, Belgium, France & Netherlands are leading countries. Also in Latin America, Brazil and Mexico are principal markets where insects are used as traditional food & for medicinal purposes

Currently in food sector, major market share for insect proteins is held by raw category whereas in future it is expected that the processed segment is going to be in limelight.Processed mealworms are extensively used in food products such as bread, noodles, pastries, biscuits, candy, and condiments.Some of the promising products that could have reasonable market demand include

  • SOR-mite (sorghum porridge enriched with termites)
  • Termite crackers and muffins (termite-based crackers, muffins, meatloaf, sausages) in Africa
  • Bugadilla (snack of spicy chick pea with mealworm powder)
  • Crikizz (Spicy/popped snacks based on mealworms and cassava)
  • Chocolate topped with crickets dipped in gold paint in Europe
  • Fried insects embedded in chocolate or hard candy and fried, and seasoned larvae in the USA
  • Protein bars & shakes and coated products are key areas of focus

Global edible insect market includes some of the top players such as

  • Protix(Netherlands)
  • HaoCheng Mealworm Inc. (China)
  • Kreca (Netherlands)
  • AgriProtein Technologies
  • Edible Inc. (Korea)
  • Bugsolutely (Thailand)
  • Proti-Farm (Netherlands)
  • Chapul Inc. (U.S.)
  • Eat Grub (UK)
  • Bitty Foods (U.S.)
  • Micronutris (France)

In many countries including India, the idea of entomophagy has still not been embraced. Bug eating is still seen as a sign of rudimentary lifestyle and ickfactor persists. But once someone get over the psychological feeling they actually make a better argument as sustainable healthy food. Not only are they a great source of lean protein but alsohave small carbon footprint. Insects, show greater feed conversion efficiency, low GHG emission and they can be cultivated in limited space. Technology has made it possible to mask their appearance and sometimes taste to make them more palatable for consumption. So what say? Wanna grab a bug…




Lasya is an Associate Consultant with Life Sciences Advisory group at Sathguru. She has pursued her MBA in Agribusiness from Symbiosis,Pune. She is a graduate in biotechnology from Osmania university. Previously during she worked with FMCG and in retail sector that gave her exposure in the field of operations and supply chain.

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