Timon from Lion King eating bugs

Did you know that 80% of the world’s population eats insects as a regular part of their diet?

I know, you’re thinking you should stop reading here, right? NO! Continue on, it’s very important.

What was once a “gag gift” for holiday parties or something you splurged on at a specialty store, is making a resurgence. In fact, an Israeli startup announced last year it received millions in funding from a Singapore-based company to further develop a farm system for grasshopper protein. In December 2020, a Malaysian insect-based food company, Ento, launched an insect-based burger patty that was developed in conjunction with a Michelin chef! In the European Union, the food safety agency cleared mealworms as ‘safe to eat’. In turn, this created a way for the worms to be used as a sustainable source of protein.

Healthy Protein

You can say want you want about these protein sources, but insect foods can be high in protein, including many nutrients and vitamins (like omega-3s, zinc, iron and more), and can support a consumer’s desire for more sustainable proteins. (Check out this great article from Interesting Engineering.)

I think the real problem here is breaking through that mental block. For years, the idea of eating insect products has been laughable. So if you’re a company looking into this realm, think about flavor, taste, texture; because you may only have 1 time to snag a consumer before they move on.

In a study from Germany and Switzerland, while the healthiness of insects might be the biggest draw, it might not be when it comes to marketing the products. For instance, in this study, researchers gave consumers a mealworm truffle to eat and an advertisement for the truffle. The willingness to eat differed depending on the reasons applied:

  • 76.2% of consumers ate it for hedonic (tasty) reasons
  • 61.3% of consumers ate for health and environmental claims combined
  • 56.6% for health claims only
  • 65.6% for environmental claims only

I know it’s not meat, but it’s still a little insect food for thought there, huh? 🦗 🐜 🐌 Where can you innovate in the insect space?

So what’s out there today with insect protein?

Here are just a few bug-filled foods on the market today.

Check this out before you go…

And before you leave, check out What’s for Dinner by CNN…

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