Insect protein refers to the protein derived from insects, which are increasingly recognized as a sustainable and nutritious source of protein for human consumption. In many cultures, insects have been part of traditional diets for centuries due to their abundance and nutritional value. However, the consumption of insects as a mainstream protein source is gaining more attention globally due to their low environmental impact compared to conventional livestock such as cattle, pigs, and chickens. At a CAGR of 33.4% from 2022 to 2027, the global insect protein market size is estimated to be worth $0.8 billion in 2022 and $3.3 billion by the end of 2027.
The insect protein market is a veritable treasure trove of unique qualities that set it apart from traditional protein sources. These small but mighty creatures offer a highly nutritious protein source, with essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals in abundance. What’s more, they’re a sustainable option, requiring minimal resources to farm and producing a smaller ecological footprint than conventional livestock. With a wide range of possible applications, from protein bars to pet food, insects offer remarkable versatility as a protein source. However, the market faces some hurdles, such as limited consumer acceptance and regulatory challenges. Despite these obstacles, the insect protein industry is on track for remarkable growth, fueled by increasing demand for sustainable and alternative protein options, and growing recognition of the environmental benefits of insect farming. As the market continues to expand and evolve, it’s clear that insects are much more than just a pest – they’re a powerful force in the future of food production.
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Key drivers of the insect protein industry:
Sustainability: One of the primary drivers is the growing awareness of the environmental impact of traditional livestock farming. Insect farming is generally more sustainable, requiring less land, water, and feed. As concerns about climate change and resource scarcity rise, consumers and businesses are looking for eco-friendly protein alternatives.
Population Growth and Food Security: With the global population expected to continue growing, there is an increasing need for sustainable and efficient protein sources. Insects can be a valuable resource to address food security challenges, providing a protein-rich option that requires fewer resources compared to conventional livestock.
Nutritional Benefits: Insects are a rich source of high-quality protein, essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. As consumers become more health-conscious and seek alternative protein sources, the nutritional benefits of insect protein are gaining recognition. Insect-based products are often marketed as a sustainable and nutritious option.
Innovation in Food Technology: Advances in food processing technology and product development have enabled the creation of a wide range of insect-based food products. These include protein powders, bars, snacks, and even ingredients incorporated into conventional foods. Innovative approaches make insect protein more palatable and accessible to a broader consumer base.
North America dominated the insect protein market and is projected to grow with a CAGR of 33.45% during the forecast period (2022 – 2027)
North America is anticipated to hold the largest market share in the insect protein market in 2022, followed by Europe, Asia Pacific, and RoW. The presence of key insect protein manufacturing companies in developed regions such as North America and Europe contributes to these regions’ high market share. Many start-ups have been established in the region that provide both edible insects and insect protein-based products for food and feed applications. Enterra Feed Corporation (Canada), Entomo Farms (Canada), EnviroFlight LLC (US), and Aspire Food Group (US) are some of the leading companies providing insect protein-based products. The market for insect protein-based food products is projected to record the fastest growth during the forecast period due to the increasing awareness among people.
Asia Pacific region is witnessing the highest growth rate in the insect protein market
Southeast Asian countries have a tradition of entomophagy but do not have regulations related to the breeding, sale, and export of insects. However, insect protein manufacturers have a high opportunity in the animal nutrition segment. Pharmaceutical and cosmetics are among the growing segments in the region, especially in China and Japan. The food consumption per capita is projected to increase in Australia, as the population is projected to reach 35.9 million by 2050, according to a report published by Australian Government.
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The major players include EnviroFlight (US), InnovaFeed (France), HEXAFLY (Ireland), Protix (Netherlands), Global Bugs (Thailand), Entomo Farms (Canada), and Ynsect (France) among others.