Ecological Appeal of Edible Insects to Boost Market Worldwide
Insects are often considered as pests bothering crops and animals. However, they are also a source of food at a low cost. Insects are consumed not only during times of famine and scarcity of food, but also in circumstances when harvesting of conventional food is difficult. Edible insect as food and feed has emerged as an agile solution to combat rising cost of animal protein, growing population, and the rising demand for protein among the middle class, states Transparency Market Research in a recent market study.
Given below are answers by TMR analysts to three pertinent questions by companies operating in the edible insects market:
Q. Will the negative perception regarding insect consumption hamper the market?
Yes, to a certain extent, the negative perception about eating insects will hamper the market. The benefits of insect consumption as an alternative animal protein source are often underplayed by negative news reports, a factor that challenges the potential of insects becoming a part of popular food culture.
On the other hand, the fact that insects emit far fewer greenhouse gases and consume much lesser water as compared to livestock, thus leaving a negligible carbon footprint is expected to increase the ecological appeal of eating insects. Growing grains for animal feed is an activity that consumes huge amounts of water, whereas insects thrive on basically anything, even organic waste. Insects can be reared on organic side streams such as manure or pig slurry.
Such ecological advantages of consuming insects are being propagated even by the United Nations, which is expected to eventually help overcome the negativity among consumers regarding insect consumption. This is expected to drive the edible insects market.
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Q. What are the other drivers of the edible insects market?
The edible insects market is driven by a rising awareness among people regarding the health benefits of consuming insects. The palatability of insects is boosting the global edible insects market. The presence of edible insects in local food culture is another factor driving the market. Moreover, since insects are a rich source of protein, they are increasingly being opted for as a low-cost substitute for animal proteins.
Insects are increasingly being perceived and promoted as an environment-friendly alternative to meat. Arable land is becoming scarce and already being pushed to its limits. As such, it will become essential to find an alternative for protein sources that we currently derive from animals. Edible insects are expected to fulfil the requirement for an alternative protein source. For instance, ground cricket flour is being used as a protein source in North America. Such products on retail shelves are expected to increase the adoption of and fuel the market for edible insects.
Re-defining the appetite of the world’s population for meat in order to tackle and combat climate change and environmental issues is expected to boost the market in the future years.
Q. Which region is expected to lead in the global edible insects market?
Asia Pacific is expected to have the largest market for edible insects. The region has shown exceptional growth in the edible insects market. Countries such as China, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and India are expected to contribute to the growth of the market in the Asia Pacific region. The growth of the edible insects market in Africa and the Rest of the World is also expected in the coming six years.