(Food-Beverage-News.Com, October 18, 2019 ) Market Overview: The demand for milk and meat products is rapidly growing with rising population across the globe. Animal derived food products are considered as rich source of protein and are extensively used in both human and animal diets. However, the rapidly growing demand and depletion of meat producing animals has motivated the need for alternative protein sources. Insect protein evolved as the effective source of protein for both food and feed applications.
Insect protein is on rise:
Insects outrank pork, chicken, and beef in terms of protein content and provide very high feed conversion efficiency over animal and marine species and insects. Insects also has a rich concentration of minerals and vitamins that on consumption enhance the wellbeing of human beings. From supply side, insect rearing is more sustainable than pigs, poultry, and cattle in terms of land, feed and water utilization and emit significantly fewer greenhouse gasses, thus making it an effective alternative protein source to animal meat. As of 2018, The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations documented more than 1,900 insect species as edible for human and animal consumption.
The major food processing companies across the globe are focusing towards use of insect protein as an ingredient in their formulations. Interest on sustainable procurement is also aiding for the growing demand for insect protein. Flour evolved as the major form of insect protein owing to its ease of use texture for food products. However, protein bars made of insect protein is on rise particularly in the U.S. and European nations. The market for insect protein bars is likely to grow at a CAGR of 42% till 2025.
Crickets are the widely used insect species for protein generation owing to its high feed conversion efficiency. According to The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, crickets require six times less feed than cattle, four times less than sheep, and twice less than pigs and broiler chickens to produce the same amount of protein. Cricket protein is commercially available in powder form and cricket protein based consumer products such as cricket ice creams, cricket granola, cricket meatballs, and cricket pasta are likely to gain consumer interest in near future.
Insect farming is on rise:
The high nutritional value of insects is supporting the domestication of insect farming. Crickets, bees, and silkworms are the highly grown insect species for human nutrition. According to International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed (IPIFF), the global production of insects reached 6 thousand tonnes in 2018.
Several government and non-profit organizations such as IPIFF and Insect Protein Association of Australia (IPAA) are promoting the use of insect protein in food and feed application to reduce over-slaughtering of meat animals and depletion of natural resources. They are also focused on providing financial and marketing assistance to insect farmers, thus supporting the growth of insect farming. Furthermore, the technological advancements in the field of insect rearing and protein production is also boosting the growth of insect protein market. Insect farmers are focusing towards automation of their farms through adoption of robotics and data-driven technologies. For instance, in August 2017, Aspire Food Group launched its first automated cricket farm in the U.S.
Acquisitions are on rise:
The emerging market of insect protein is likely to witness consolidation with the likes of global food giants. The high growth potential of the market is motivating companies such as McDonald's Corporation and Cargill, Incorporated towards direct entry into the business. Several acquisitions occurred in the recent times entrusted the market growth and growing competition in the market.
Aspire Food Group, a U.S. based manufacturer of human and animal grade cricket powder acquired Exo in March 2018. Exo is involved in the production of cricket protein bar. The acquisition, first of its kind marked the integration of value chain insect protein market. After acquisition, Exo started utilization of Aspire’s cricket powder for making its bars and Aspire has re-branded its Aketta line of cricket based products as Exo
In December 2018, AgriProtein that produces protein rich meal and oil from flies and larvae acquired Belgian insect feed company Millibeter to expand its business network in European region
In September 2017, Protix acquired Fair Insects BV, an insect breeding company involved in harvesting crickets, mealworms, and grasshoppers. The acquisition enabled Protix to enhance its product portfolio.
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