Insects are not only sold whole (plain roasted or seasoned) for you to snack on, close to 400 edible-insect-related businesses are operating in the Western world (source), producing a variety of products ranging from protein powders, energy bars, confectionary, beverages and more substantial foods.
The global market for edible insect products is expected to grow by more than 26% per year until to $4.6 billion by 2027. In terms of volume, the market size for edible insects is growing by more than 28% and will reach 1.4 million tons by 2027. (source)
The growing fitness and wellness sector, for instance the rising number of fitness studios adding insect protein powders to their on-site food offerings, the emergence of start-ups producing insect protein bars and shakes, and busy lifestyles that demand highly nutritious and convenient foods are some of the major drivers for the growth of this segment.
The biggest growth is expected in the protein powder segment. Powders and flour are easily incorporated into other foods such as protein bars, pasta and beverages, making insects invisible to the consumer. This can overcome the hesitancy of Western societies to eat insects.
Besides the high nutritional value of insects, a growing demand for environment-friendly, alternative protein sources is driving the growth of the edible insects market. Be it whole or processed, insects are bound to become part of our nutrition.
In many modern diets, the quality and diversity of food is often replaced by convenience, as we eat more refined sugars, fats, salts and processed meats than ever before. This can result in preventable health issues such as malnutrition, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Research shows that a moderate amount of protein incorporated into every meal will help muscle metabolism and potentially make weight loss easier. Integrating insects in the modern diet has the potential to improve the intake of high-quality protein and other essential nutrients.
Insects could also facilitate an even distribution of protein intake during the day, instead of concentrating most protein in one meal (i.e., protein consumption is usually low at breakfast and high at dinner).
The need for protein around the world varies depending on the region: low-income countries need more protein to combat malnutrition, while high-income countries need protein from healthier and more sustainable sources. Insect-based foods could address both.
Integrating insects could improve the diet of people in modern societies and potentially contribute to better health outcomes, especially if edible insects replace discretionary food and other highly processed products. Insects are distinguished from other animal protein sources by having many unique nutritional attributes. Insects, and the protein powders made from them, are high in quality protein with a full set of amino acids, omega-3s and 6s fatty acids, micronutrients (i.e., copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, selenium and zinc), and vitamins (i.e., ascorbic acid, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, biotin, and in some cases folic acid.
Below we are introducing you to a wide selection of insect-based foods, sweets and condiments. This list is by no means complete.
The Acheta Domesticus is the main cricket used in most products because it has a milder taste compared to others. It is also the most-farmed cricket worldwide.
Cricket powder, synonymous with cricket flour, is the result of whole dried crickets being ground into powder. This fine white or brownish powder, just like grain flours, can be used for cooking and baking.
Power, protein or energy bars are big business, and they tend to contain significant amount of protein. So, it’s no surprise that several insect companies entered the market with bars where the protein comes from crickets. We have a comprehensive overview of the dozens of insect protein bars available.
Please note that many of the so-called cricket bars on the market actually contain a really small amount of cricket powder. The reason is still cost. Insect powder is more expensive than the other ingredients in the list.
You can buy cricket protein based pasta as Fusilli from Kric8, as Fusilli and Penne Pasta from Hoppa Foods, as penne from Eat Crawlers, as fusilli from Circle Harvest, from Hoppa Foods, and from Jimini’s, as pasta from Nutribug, Gourmetbug, red lentil pasta from sens and Bugsolutely, as Tagliatelle with red lentils from Terraz, Mealworm Pasta from dineinsects, and Silkworm Pupae Pasta and Silkworm Pupae Ramen Noodles from Thailand Unique.
Cricket chips from Chirps, powdered peanut butter with crickets from Jurassic Snacks, Molasses Cricket Cookies from 3cricketeers, Chocololate Covered Crickets with Amaranth Seeds and Cricket Granola Bites from Don Bugito, variously flavored cracker bites from Eat Small Giants, trail mixes from Crunchy Critters, various cookies and macarons from Minus Farm, Cricket Corn Chips from Circle Harvest, cricket crackers from Little Food, cricket chips and cricket sticks from Grig, chirpsies from Nimavert, various flavored Bugbites (granola) from Entis, various flavored insect snacks with grasshoppers, crickets and mealworms and granolas from Jimini’s, various flavored cricket corn chips from Primal Future cricket crisp bread from Crick, an assortment of granolas from Kriket.
Cricket Powder pancake mixes from Bud’s Cricket Power, Chocolate Chirp Cookie Mix from Chirps, Chocolate Cricket Brownie, Cricket Choc Chip Wattle Seed cookie mix and Pancake mixes from Circle Harvest, Pancake and Brownie mixes from Zirp, pancake and waffle mix from Cricket Flours, Protein Porridge from Isaac.
Sal de Gusano from Don Bugito, Cricket Hazelnut Dukkha from Grubsup, Crickets Aubergine Tapenade from Little Food, cricket aubergine tapenade from Nimavert, salt selection with chiles, lemon and caterpillars and chiles, lemon and superworms, oils from crickets and silkworm pupae and Giant Bug Chili Dipping Paste from Thailand Unique, cricket-based seasonings and herbal blends from Chapul.
A wide variety of candies is available from producers worldwide. Check out the ant wafers, worm sucker or desert scorpion, Cricket and Mealworm Chocolate and Insect Marshmallows from Circle Harvest , chocolate covered crickets from Entis, insect lollipops and chocolate from Insects Comestible, mealworm lollipops from Deli Bugs, chocolate with crickets from Urban Mat, Gourmet Grub’s icecream made from dairy-free milk made with black soldier flies, chocolate-covered silkworm pupae, scorpions, superworms and sago worms from Thailand Unique.
And lastly, if you are a fan of civet coffee – a coffee that consists of partially digested coffee cherries, which have been eaten and defecated by the Asian palm civet – then you might like the Bugapoop Worm Poo Tea as well, a.k.a. Bug Shit Tea, Moth Poop Tea or Pearl tea.
Bugapoop Tea is a special tea made from the feces of grain moth larvae. These larvae are fed on nothing else but special tea leaves (Camellia sinensis) that have been naturally fermented. As the leaves pass through the larvae’s body, they continue fermentation. Their droppings are handpicked, and the collected droppings are dried and then further aged.