The protein extracted from edible insects is known as insect protein. Edible insects are rich in high-quality protein, vitamins, and amino acids for human consumption. Insects possess high food conversion rate, e.g., crickets produce the same amount of protein as chicken, cattle, and sheep but require six times less feed than cattle, twice less than pigs and broiler chickens, and four times less than sheep. Insects can be reared on organic waste and produce very fewer greenhouse gases and ammonia as compared to other conventional livestock. Hence, insects possess a potential for conventional production of protein, either for direct human consumption or indirectly in processed foods (with extracted insect protein); and as a protein source for animal feed. According to the Asian Food and Feed Insects Association (2016), the market is dominated by the Asia Pacific region and has the insect food market of around USD 12 million which is projected to grow rapidly in the coming years. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, (2013) Thailand is one of the leading countries with edible insect consumption. Insect harvesting, rearing, and marketing are the sources of income for thousands of people in Thailand and its neighboring countries. Around 200 species of insects are consumed in Thailand, and house crickets and palm weevils are most commonly farmed. Insect farming requires less land, less feed, and less water to produce food and thus can help meet the food needs of burgeoning global population.
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The global insect protein market is segmented on the basis of type, product type, application, and distribution channel. The insect protein market, by type, is segmented into crickets, mealworms, black soldier flies, grasshoppers, ants, silkworms, cicadas, and others. The product type segment is segmented into whole insects, insect meal, insect powder, insect protein bars and protein shakes, insect baked product and snacks, insect confectionaries, insect beverages, insect oil, and others. The application segment is segmented into human consumption, animal nutrition, and cosmetics and pharmaceutical. On the basis of distribution channel, the market is categorized into online portals and retail stores.
Some of the key players for the global insect protein market are Thailand Unique, Kreca Ento-Food, Kreca Ento-Food , Nordic Insect Economy Ltd., Entomo Farms Ltd., Enviro Flight, Proti-Farm, Exo Inc., Crik Nutrition, Deli Bugs Ltd., Agriprotein Technologies, Bugsolutely, Hopper Foods, Hargol Food Tech, Griopro, Kric8, and others.
Regional Market Summary
The insect protein market is dominated by Asia Pacific owing to the huge increasing population.
Asia is the most populous of all the continents and has two most populous countries, China and India. According to World Population Review in 2017, China has the largest population in the world which is estimated to be 1,377,124,512, which is 31.69% of Asia’s total population and 18% of the world’s population. China is followed by India with an estimated population of 1,285,800,000 and accounts for 29.36% of the continent’s population. With the growth in population, the need for healthy food alternatives is also growing. Moreover, insect harvesting, gathering, and processing is an important occupation in some countries of Asia. This drives the growth of the market in this region.
Europe is expected to be the second largest region in the global insect protein market. The EU regulation 2017, granted permission to use insect proteins as fish feed, thus offering a milestone for the European insect production sector. The increased production of insect feed in Europe for the aquaculture sector drives the growth of the market in Europe. The aquaculture sector has grown tremendously and is an important contributor to the region’s food production sector. According to Eurostat in 2017, aquaculture accounted for 19.7% of the total fisheries production and the amounted for EUR 4 billion. Thus, rapidly growing aquaculture sector provides favorable backgrounds for the market to grow in Europe.
The Middle East holds the least share in the global insect protein market due to the presence of stringent government policies. On the other hand, Africa holds a large share in the Middle Eastern and African region for the insect protein market, as the tradition of insect consumption is more than hundreds of years old. The rising price of beef and meat and the tropical climate for insect growth in this region also pose a huge opportunity for the market to grow in this region.
The Americas will witness growth for the insect protein market owing to growing awareness and increasing nutrition demand. The increase in the per capita meat consumption and fears of protein shortage fuel the market within the region.
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