- The global edible insects market is expected to surpass $522 million by 2023, signaling significant growth potential for the alternative protein source, according to a new report from Global Market Insights.
- Beetles were the dominant edible insects category in 2015 at $9.7 million, but grasshoppers, locusts, and crickets could command sizable demand growth, estimated at more than 42% CAGR through 2023.
- Manufacturers are most commonly using edible insects whole or in powder form for flour, protein bars, and other snacks. But insects as protein sources for animal feed and pet food is also increasingly popular.
Experts position edible insects as a healthy source of protein and nutrients, but insects could also be an answer to sustainability and food waste issues. From the FAO to esteemed French culinary school Le Cordon Bleu, advocates for the more than 1,900 varieties of edible insect species continue to push the many benefits of this category, and more manufacturers are paying attention.
Manufacturers of snacks, particularly better-for-you snacks, could especially benefit from the global growth of this category. Insect-based flour and energy bars together comprised more than 54% of the market share for edible insects last year. As consumers in different countries and cultures come to varying levels of acceptance of insects as a food source, snacks could be an avenue for increasing accessibility to edible insects before expanding to other categories.
In addition to convincing consumers of the viability of edible insects as a food source, manufacturers may also need to work closely with regulators as the category continues to expand and evolve. That expansion will require clearly defined regulatory guidance regarding registration, classification, and commercialization of edible insect-based products.