Insects on our table? Take a look at why insects can become an interesting alternative for animal protein and how they can contribute to sustainable agriculture. Read about the perspectives for edible insects’ cultivation around the globe.
Insects as animal protein alternative
The arguments that previously shifted the interest of the consumers from meat products to alternative plant-based offers are now directing the market’s fast-growing attention towards the edible insect segment. The benefits of insect manufacture are ample, the major arguments being those of sustainability. Insect cultivation generates far less carbon footprint than that of the meat industry and also requires less land thus diminishing forest devastation. Furthermore, insects are not only an excellent source of proteins – around 479 kcal per 100g of edible mealworm (Curculionidae-palm weevil (Larvae), but also provide high levels of vitamins, amino acids, and fibers both in animal and human nutrition.
Experts predict that the insect protein market is deemed for rapid expansion in the near future. A major step forward was made in January by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) giving approval for the first mealworm in human food products. The Tenebrio Molitor larvae can be eaten whole but are more popular in a milled form as a nutritious additive to other foodstuffs.
In Europe, the production of edible insects increased from below 2,000 metric tonnes in 2018 to a projected 194,000 metric tonnes in 2020 and is expected to reach 1,2 million metric tonnes by 2025. The global insect market is expected to follow the trend with a projected 46% CAGR within the next 6 years. Edible insects are becoming a popular ingredient of protein bars and supplements in sports nutrition. In 2019, North America scored $ 2.49 million of revenue from the protein bar segment in the insect protein industry for athletes alone.