Why insects are gaining popularity as feed and food

Investments contribute to the development of the insect breeding industry. At this stage, market researchers are more likely to see the potential of insects as food rather than as food. However, the situation may change in the long run.


Increasing investor interest spurs insect growth

Investments in the sector ensure rapid production growth. In 2018 alone, 40% more funds were invested in the industry than in the previous four years.

Some of the largest financial investments last year were received by black lion growing companies – British AgriProtein, Dutch Protix and French company InnovaFeed.

A large influx of capital was also received by the French company Ynsect, which produces a flour worm. These companies stand out with their modern business models. They are based on establishing partnerships with various participants in the production process, expanding the range of products, and increasing geographical distribution. Partnerships range from joint ventures with engineering companies for the processing of raw materials to cooperation with leading supermarkets selling animal protein products.

The estimated volume of insect protein produced in Europe is several thousand tons, and by 2025 it will reach 1.2 million tons. The increase in production will occur due to the emergence of a number of new large production enterprises, as well as the geographical expansion of existing ones.

Great potential as an ingredient for fish feed

Now many insect companies have turned their attention to the aquaculture market. In this area, there is a need for a high-quality protein alternative to fishmeal – a unique ingredient in fish feed. Despite the fact that the cost of protein from insects is higher than that of fishmeal and its analogues, its higher functionality can justify it.

It is important that insect protein reduces the dependence of fish on marine ingredients, and also has a greater nutritional value. Reducing production costs and obtaining protein with a high yield will allow insects to take a prominent place in the aquaculture market.

The near future: higher potential in feed quality than in food

At the same time, for the further growth of the insect market as food products, manufacturers have only to gain the trust of consumers. Edible insects are very nutritious and beneficial. But the current level in the world of perception of insects as a food product is still very low, and their market share is insignificant.

Trends in society towards the use of environmentally friendly and natural food will contribute to the development of the sphere. But at the moment, taste and price are still a decisive factor. Therefore, the long-term prospects for the edible insect market depend only on the growing recognition of consumers.

Changes in law may open up more opportunities.

Access to capital is necessary to support the growth of the insect market. The problem is in regulatory barriers in legislation. So, in the EU there is a separate regulation for the production and sale of insects as food or feed. Feed material for breeding insects also belongs to another regulatory category.

Legislation is still confusing, but there are also positive developments. As of July 2017, EU regulations allow the inclusion of proteins from insects in fish feed. The industry expects that by mid-2019 they will also be allowed to use insect proteins in feed for pigs and poultry.

Other industry expectations for the next two years are that the volume of permitted feed substrates will expand. It is difficult to assess when exactly these reforms will be adopted by law, but when this happens, there is no doubt that insect production will begin to grow at an even faster pace.

8 insects that are grown for cooking and industry

If you heard that in the distant future we will not have enough protein foods, relax. There is an ideal substitute for protein products – insects, cultivated by modern farmers. Say goodbye to the beef burger, as it will disappear, and say hello to the insect cricket hamburger.


Red dye, silk and the protection of fields from pests – all this we also received thanks to insects. And to grow them for consumption is a bold idea that will help fight hunger. Here are a few insects that are used both in industry and in cooking.

1. Silkworms are bred for the silk industry

With the insect genes fumbled several times. Scientists even decided to paste the spider gene into silkworm DNA in order to obtain more durable threads for the manufacture of airbags and bulletproof vests. It was the spider that was taken for the genetic modification, because the cobweb is famous for its high strength and does not melt at high temperatures, like synthetics.

Contrary to efforts in the field of genetic engineering and mechanization, most of the silk is still produced in the old fashioned way.

The silkworm is also a nutritious insect: about 9 grams of protein and 2 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams of insects. 100 grams of white bread has the same value.

2. Of cochineal make red dye

If the silkworm is an iconic insect in Asia, then cochineal is its Latin American version. They make carmine from it, which colors everything: from wool to lipstick. It is most often used in cosmetology. This is due to the fact that some artificial colors are recognized as carcinogenic. Cochineal is also used in the manufacture of jelly, biscuits, icing for desserts.

The main world exporter of carmine is Peru, the country produces 850 tons of dye per year.

3. Ladybug bred to control dangerous pests of agricultural plants

Another red insect is a ladybug. British farmers cultivate them to protect crops from aphids. These insects are so effective that farmers are paid for their breeding: 72 thousand individuals cost $ 95. This amount is enough to save 0.4 hectares of the crop.

4. Housefly feed animals

In South America, there is a company that has been growing flies since 2009. She has won many awards and grants for the production of animal feed: chickens and fish.

The main thing is that the cultivation of these insects does not require land resources and large investments.

5. Brown worms are healthy and tasty

It is brown garden worms that are recommended for human consumption. To get rid of the smell of the earth, they are fed with corn flour 24 hours before consumption. Current wholesale prices – 350 hryvnias per 10 kg.

6. Red mosquito larvae improve soil fertility

Bloodworms, or red mosquito larvae, provide oxygen to the soil and are used as fish feed. They are more expensive than earthworms – 300 UAH per 1 kg.

7. Crickets replace meat and other protein foods.

It is pleasant to grow them – they do not eat carrion, but fresh products: salad or oatmeal. Plus pleasant memories of night chatter.

About 30 startups involved in insect breeding have been launched in North America . First, cricket flour appeared in San Francisco – cricket flour, then in New York and Colorado cricket bars – cricket bars. Soon, it is planned to release cricket chips on the shelves of US stores, which, sooner or later, will reach us.

8. The larvae of the fly “black soldier” – an excellent fertilizer for plants and animal feed

Unlike house flies, the “black soldiers” are inactive and very easy to catch. In addition, the larvae do not care about the taste of the food – they eat everything that they are given. And after they eat their food, they give compost – a fertilizer for plants.

Larvae are also used as pet food. They are so useful that they are also suitable for human consumption: they are 42% protein, contain large amounts of calcium and amino acids.

You can overcome hunger in Africa relatively easily – feed starving insects. Even if we really want to, we will not be able to harm their populations – there are a lot of them, only the number of their species, according to various estimates, is from 2 to 8 million, and they multiply rapidly. And if at first glance they seem nasty – everything happens for the first time. Raw fish in sushi also at first seemed unusual.

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