In the context of a rapidly growing global population and an increasing demand for protein, the sustainability of traditional protein sources has been called into question. Livestock farming, a primary source of protein, contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions and places substantial demands on resources like land and water. These concerns have prompted a search for alternative, sustainable protein sources that can meet our nutritional needs while mitigating environmental impact.

One such alternative that has recently come into the spotlight is insect protein powder. Derived predominantly from crickets and mealworms, this unconventional protein source presents a fascinating convergence of nutrition and sustainability. Its production requires significantly fewer resources compared to traditional livestock, and it offers a nutrient profile that matches, and in some aspects surpasses, conventional sources.

cricket protein powder

Despite initial reservations, insect protein powder has steadily gained acceptance, particularly within health and fitness communities. As more people seek out eco-friendly dietary options, this unique superfood is poised for mainstream adoption. This guide aims to provide comprehensive insight into the world of insect protein powder, exploring everything from its production and nutritional profile to its health benefits and potential uses.

Whether you’re an eco-conscious consumer, a fitness enthusiast looking for a new protein source, or simply intrigued by the prospect of insect nutrition, this guide offers a deep dive into what insect protein powder is all about. So, let’s step into the world of insect protein powder and discover how this novel food source might just be a game-changer in our dietary landscape.

If you want to buy insect protein powder, check out the selection of insect protein powder in our store.

Understanding Insect Protein Powder

What is Insect Protein Powder?

Insect protein powder is a nutritional supplement derived primarily from insects. The insects most commonly used in its production are crickets and mealworms, due to their high protein content, relative ease of farming, and acceptability from a taste perspective. In some regions, other insects such as silkworms, black soldier flies, or locusts may also be used.

The concept of using insects as a protein source may seem novel to Western audiences, but it’s important to note that insects have been part of the human diet in many cultures for centuries. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that insects form part of the traditional diets of at least 2 billion people worldwide.

Insect protein powder is typically a fine, beige or light brown powder that can be easily mixed into liquids or used as a substitute for some of the flour in baking recipes. It offers a way to incorporate the nutritional benefits of insects into your diet without having to consume whole insects, which can be a psychological barrier for many people.

How is Insect Protein Powder Produced?

cricket farm

The production of insect protein powder is a multi-step process that begins with insect farming. Insects are raised in controlled environments where their diet, temperature, humidity, and light exposure can be closely managed to ensure optimal growth and health. This also minimizes the risk of disease and contamination, which is crucial given that the insects will be used for human consumption.

Once the insects have grown to the desired size, they are harvested and go through a cleaning process to remove any residual feed or waste. The insects are then blanched, a process that involves briefly immersing them in boiling water. This step not only kills the insects quickly and humanely but also helps to preserve the nutritional content and flavor.

The blanched insects are then dehydrated, typically by baking or air-drying, to remove all moisture content. Dehydration is a critical step as it prevents spoilage and extends the shelf life of the product. The dried insects are then ground into a fine powder. Depending on the desired texture and application, the grinding process may be repeated several times to achieve a very fine, flour-like consistency.

It’s worth noting that the entire insect is used in the production of the protein powder, making it a zero-waste process. The final product is a nutrient-dense powder that can be used in a variety of culinary applications, from protein shakes and smoothies to baked goods and savory dishes.

Nutritional Profile of Insect Protein Powder

Insect protein powder is not just a viable alternative to traditional protein sources; it excels in its nutritional offerings. The nutrient profile of insect protein powder, particularly from crickets and mealworms, is remarkably balanced and dense, making it a worthy addition to any diet.

Protein and Essential Amino Acids

Insect protein powder is a complete protein source, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids that the human body cannot produce on its own. Essential amino acids play vital roles in the body, including muscle tissue growth and repair, immune function, and more. With a protein content that can range from 50 to 75%, depending on the insect species and processing method, insect protein powder is comparable to, or in some cases surpasses, other animal-based protein powders in terms of protein content.


In addition to its impressive protein content, insect protein powder also contains a significant amount of dietary fiber, primarily in the form of chitin, which forms part of the insect’s exoskeleton. Unlike traditional animal-based protein sources, which typically contain no fiber, a serving of insect protein powder can provide a good portion of the recommended daily fiber intake. Fiber is crucial for maintaining a healthy digestive system and may help in managing weight and lowering the risk of heart disease.

Healthy Fats

Insect protein powder is rich in healthy fats, particularly omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These fats are essential for the body and must be obtained from the diet. They play crucial roles in brain function, inflammation control, and heart health.

Vitamins and Minerals

Insect protein powder is also an excellent source of various vitamins and minerals. It is rich in B vitamins, particularly B2 (riboflavin), B5 (pantothenic acid), and B12 (cobalamin), which are involved in energy production, brain function, and maintaining a healthy nervous system, among other functions. It also contains significant amounts of iron, a mineral that is essential for transporting oxygen in the blood, and zinc, which is crucial for immune function and metabolism.

This nutrient-packed composition of insect protein powder makes it more than just a protein supplement. It’s a holistic superfood that can contribute to a well-rounded and nutritionally complete diet.

Health Benefits of Insect Protein Powder

Insect protein powder offers a host of health benefits, stemming not only from its high protein content but also from its rich array of other nutrients. Here’s a closer look at how incorporating insect protein powder into your diet can support your health and wellbeing:

Supports Muscle Growth and Repair

Protein is a fundamental nutrient when it comes to muscle growth and repair. It provides the building blocks, known as amino acids, that our bodies use to build and repair muscle tissue. As a complete protein source, insect protein powder provides all nine essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own.

Insect protein powder is particularly high in leucine, an amino acid that plays a crucial role in initiating muscle protein synthesis, the process through which the body builds new muscle. This makes insect protein powder an excellent supplement for those looking to support muscle growth, recovery, and overall physical performance, whether you’re an athlete, a fitness enthusiast, or simply someone looking to maintain muscle health as you age.

Aids in Weight Management

The high protein content of insect protein powder makes it a valuable tool for weight management. Protein is known to promote feelings of fullness, which can help to control appetite and prevent overeating. Additionally, the process of digesting protein requires more energy than digesting fats or carbohydrates, which can boost your metabolic rate and lead to increased calorie burning.

Moreover, the fiber content in insect protein powder can also contribute to weight management. Fiber adds bulk to your diet without adding extra calories, helping to keep you feeling full. It also slows the rate at which food leaves your stomach and moderates the release of blood sugars, which can help to control hunger and cravings.

By providing a rich source of both protein and fiber, insect protein powder can be an effective supplement for those looking to manage their weight or support a weight loss journey.

Sustainability of Insect Protein Powder

In the face of pressing environmental concerns and a growing global population, the need for sustainable food production systems is more apparent than ever. Insect protein powder stands out as an environmentally friendly protein alternative due to its significantly smaller ecological footprint associated with insect farming.

Reduced Greenhouse Gas Emissions

One of the major environmental benefits of insect farming is its low greenhouse gas emissions. Insects, such as crickets and mealworms, produce a fraction of the greenhouse gases per unit of protein compared to conventional livestock. Specifically, crickets are estimated to emit 80 times less methane than cattle. This massive reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is crucial in the fight against climate change, given that livestock farming currently accounts for a significant proportion of global emissions.

environmental footprint of edible insects

Greenhouse gas production (global warming potential), energy use and land use due to the production of 1 kg of protein from mealworms, milk, pork, chicken and beef. The grey bars are minimal values and the dark green bars are maximum values found in the literature. (Source: Oonincx and de Boer, 2012)

Lower Water and Land Use

Insect farming also requires far less water and land resources compared to traditional livestock farming. Insects are ectothermic, meaning they don’t need to use energy to maintain their body temperature. This makes them incredibly efficient at converting feed into protein. For instance, crickets need twelve times less feed than cattle to produce the same amount of protein.

Furthermore, because insects are much smaller and can be farmed vertically in stacked trays, they require significantly less land. In terms of water, insects’ water needs are minute compared to livestock, and most of the water they consume comes from their feed.

Potential for Circular Economy

Insects play a pivotal role in our ecosystems by breaking down waste and dead matter. This natural ability can be harnessed in a farming context, with insects being fed organic side-streams, such as food waste or manure. This not only reduces the waste that would otherwise end up in landfill but also decreases the need for fresh resources to feed the insects.

Furthermore, the waste generated by insects, known as frass, is a valuable by-product in itself. Frass is a nutrient-rich organic matter that can be used as a highly effective fertilizer, returning essential nutrients to the soil and promoting plant growth.

In this way, insect farming contributes to a circular economy, where waste is minimized and resources are continually reused, creating a sustainable loop of production and consumption. This stands in stark contrast to the linear “take-make-waste” model of most conventional livestock farming.

circular protein economy with insects

Incorporating Insect Protein Powder into Your Diet

Given its neutral taste profile and versatility, insect protein powder can be easily integrated into various dishes and diets.

Smoothies and Shakes

Perhaps the simplest way to use insect protein powder is by adding it to smoothies and shakes. You can blend it with fruits, vegetables, and your choice of milk or water for a nutrient-packed meal or snack. How about making a delicious Green Breakfast Smoothie?


Insect protein powder can also be used in baking. You can replace a portion of the flour in your favorite recipes with insect protein powder to boost the protein content of your baked goods. It works well in recipes for bread, muffins, pancakes, cookies, and more. Could we interest you with the recipe for this delicious Chocolate Espresso Banana Bread with Cricket Flour or some yummy Mealworm Flapjacks?

Savory Dishes

You can also incorporate insect protein powder into savory dishes. It can be mixed into soups, stews, or sauces, or used as a coating for foods like chicken or tofu. Fancy a Chili con Buffalo or Focaccia with Cricket Flour?

Protein Bars and Snacks

protein bars

For those who enjoy homemade protein bars or energy balls, insect protein powder can be a unique ingredient to try. Its mild flavor pairs well with a variety of ingredients, from nuts and seeds to dried fruit and chocolate.

Remember to start with a small quantity and gradually increase as you become more comfortable with its use. Like any dietary change, it’s important to listen to your body and adjust according to your individual needs and preferences.

Check out all our recipes with edible insects.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What does insect protein powder taste like?

Insect protein powder, particularly that derived from crickets or mealworms, generally possesses a mild, somewhat nutty flavor. Its taste is often compared to whole grains or seeds. The subtle flavor profile of insect protein powder allows it to blend well with a variety of ingredients, making it easy to incorporate into numerous recipes. The taste can also vary slightly based on the type of insect used and the processing method. It’s worth noting that many people find the flavor becomes even less noticeable when the powder is mixed into smoothies, shakes, or baked goods.

2. How much insect protein powder should I consume daily?

The amount of insect protein powder you should consume daily largely depends on your individual protein needs, which can vary based on factors such as age, sex, physical activity level, and overall health status. As a general guideline, the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for protein is 46 grams per day for women and 56 grams per day for men. However, this amount may need to be increased for those who are highly active or looking to build muscle mass. It’s always a good idea to consult with a nutritionist, dietitian, or healthcare provider to determine your specific protein needs and how insect protein powder can best fit into your diet.

3. Is insect protein powder safe for individuals with shellfish allergy?

Insects, including those used to make protein powder, are part of the arthropod family, just like shellfish. This means that they share certain proteins that can trigger allergic reactions in individuals who are allergic to shellfish. Therefore, if you have a known shellfish allergy, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider before incorporating insect protein powder into your diet. While not everyone with a shellfish allergy will necessarily react to insects, it’s better to err on the side of caution when it comes to potential allergens.

4. Can vegetarians and vegans consume insect protein powder?

Insect protein powder is derived from animals, making it unsuitable for vegetarians and vegans who avoid all forms of animal-derived foods. However, some individuals who follow a predominantly plant-based diet but are open to consuming insects – a group sometimes referred to as “entovegans” – may choose to incorporate insect protein powder into their diet. The decision to consume insect protein powder is a personal one and should align with your individual dietary restrictions, ethical beliefs, and health needs. Always make sure to read labels carefully to ensure that the product aligns with your dietary requirements.


In the quest for sustainable and nutritionally dense protein alternatives, insect protein powder emerges as a distinctive and promising solution. This non-traditional protein source offers an array of health benefits, encompassing support for muscle development, facilitation of weight management, and providing an avenue towards a more ecologically responsible food system. As with all dietary supplements, it’s essential to take into account personal nutritional requirements and seek advice from a healthcare professional if necessary. The exploration of insect protein powder propels us to reconsider our conventional protein sources and embrace innovative nutritional possibilities. With a low environmental impact and high nutritional value, it stands as a compelling proposition for the future of food.