Finding new alternative sources of protein is a focus to sustainably ensure access to nutritious food for a global population of nine billion in 2040. Dried insects often contain over 50% protein and are part of the diet for almost two billion people worldwide. Meanwhile, in the West, insect meal is emerging as a protein addition in bread, breakfast cereals, snack bars, ice cream, biscuits and milk alternatives. Do insects have the potential to become an important source of protein?
Asia Pacific has a good climate for insect production, and snacking on whole insects is a traditional occurrence in many parts of the region. However, this tradition is fading along with urbanisation with much of the growing middle class preferring more westernised diets. Branded and packaged insect products attempt to revive insect eating in cities but recent launches remain niche.
Pet food, fish feed, sports protein and dry packaged food hold the highest potential for insect-derived ingredient protein, but each category comes with its own set of competitive pressures to be handled. Often it is the squeeze between being less sustainable than plants and not being desirable like animal-based protein sources that causes most consumers to select non-insect options in multi-option surveys.
In general, surveys and experiments have found men to be more accepting of edible insects than women, who instead are slightly more likely to seek out vegan labels. This mirrors how men are more likely to prefer sports protein powder and bars as a protein source, especially in Europe. As such, insect sports protein may find a positioning as the non-whey alternative for men.
In meat substitutes, the choice of protein source is the biggest product differentiation tool used by producers right now. Insect protein may take a part of this ingredient market simply by positioning its novelty as a unique selling point in Europe and America. Surveys indicate that insects may be able to score points from sensation- seeking consumers, but the products themselves need to be at least as good as the advanced wet extruded plant-based burgers that consumers are getting used to as a standard.
If you purchase a report that is updated in the next 60 days, we will send you the new edition and data extract FREE! Home Page