An edible insect future: here’s the latest you should know

An edible insect future: here’s the latest you should know

By
Nicola Spalding
March 18, 2021

Insects as protein. We’ve been tracking this for awhile now. Insects are a highly sustainable form of protein, but early insect-based snacks were mainly whole bugs, with all the legs and eyes and the potential to gross some consumers (me!) out.

My personal tastes aside, the global insect protein market is projected to reach $1.3 billion by 2025, and even authorities are getting behind bugs as an alternative protein. In October the UK government earmarked $13M for industrial insect farming, and in January, The European Food Safety Authority okayed mealworms as suitable for human consumption.

Here’s the latest on what you need to know:

🐜What:

  • According to the FAO, there are around 1900 edible insect species and around 2000 are currently eaten across the world.
  • Grasshoppers, caterpillars, beetles, wasps, bees, tree bugs and ants remain some of the most common categories
  • Grasshoppers in particular can contain up to 77% protein, which has made them a go-to option for many insect entrepreneurs.
  • While crickets and mealworms also remain popular choices, especially in the European market.
  • One of the most common applications is flour and protein powder which is then used in everything from crisps and pasta to chocolate, cookies and macarons.
  • Even leading retailers like Sainsburys are stocking smoky BBQ roasted crickets alongside their summer selection of beers and wines.  

🐓How do they taste?

  • For those of you who have not yet munched on a mealworm, apparently they’re distinctly hazelnutty. Grasshoppers supposedly taste more like chicken. And cricket converts will tell you they have a popcorny flavour (who knew?).
Taste Testing Edible Bugs & Insects | Alternative Proteins

🤷‍♂️Why:

When compared to traditional protein, insect products:

👀Who:

  • Ÿnsect has raised $372M to date to commercialise the world’s most high-tech bug colony. It supplies fish farms so far, but is also looking to launch food grade mealworm ingredients
  • Protifarm landed $10M in 2019 to scale up its beetle-based tofu farm
  • Aspire Food Group scored $13.2M last month for the world’s first fully automated cricket protein plant
  • Entomo Farms bagged 3.7M CAD in January and is ramping up its pro-insect marketing efforts
  • Better Origin raised €2.5M to convert food waste to insect-based animal feed
  • FUNCiFUR just closed SEK7.5M seed funding for its dog food made from black soldier flies
  • Cricket One closed an undisclosed seed funding round in November to roll out a new cricket-based burger patty
  • Hargol FoodTech raised $3M last year to shake up the Israeli protein powders and supplements scene
  • Micronutris (angel funded in 2015) was the first European company to get behind insect protein
  • Essento (no public round yet) is a Swiss pioneer which got the law changed to accept insects as food
  • Hey Planet (no public round yet) is rearing nutrient-packed buffalo beetles for use in superfoods
  • Bug Farm Foods was awarded Welsh Government funding in 2017 to tackle childhood obesity
  • Small Giants (no public round yet) developed the first insect-based snacks to win a Great Taste Award
👎The challenges:
  • Many adult consumers still need more time to get over the ick factor and embrace bugs in their natural form.
  • The legal framework is still evolving, resulting in shifting regulatory requirements and guidelines at national level.
  • One of the major bottlenecks for insect based companies is the high investments associated with building a suitable facility - making it typically out of budget for startups and too high risk for the big food industry.

🔮Predictions:

  • In terms of product development, experts see potential in the functional foods, baked products, meat, diet-specific and specialty food segments in the next five years.
  • Studies have also highlighted a particular opportunity in the children’s food market. Less affected by the ick factor.
  • There may be good returns for budding bug entrepreneurs who focus on growing the next generation of bug lovers and develop products that win over the alternative protein purchasers of the future.


We’ve been tracking insect-friendly startups over on our Discovery board - check some of them out below 👇 We’ve even deep-dived into the topic of edible insects here on FoodHack+ last year.

What's your take on insects - would you eat insect protein, or feed it to your pets? Do you think it’s the next wave of alternative protein? Hit us up with the reply button, we’d love to hear your thoughts.

Become a FoodHack+ member to get unlimited access

  • Weekly 7-Minutes Trend Reports | Library of 60+ Reports
  • Proprietary FoodTech Database | Startups & Companies
  • FoodHack+ Insiders Community | Coming soon

Insects as protein. We’ve been tracking this for awhile now. Insects are a highly sustainable form of protein, but early insect-based snacks were mainly whole bugs, with all the legs and eyes and the potential to gross some consumers (me!) out.

My personal tastes aside, the global insect protein market is projected to reach $1.3 billion by 2025, and even authorities are getting behind bugs as an alternative protein. In October the UK government earmarked $13M for industrial insect farming, and in January, The European Food Safety Authority okayed mealworms as suitable for human consumption.

Here’s the latest on what you need to know:

🐜What:

  • According to the FAO, there are around 1900 edible insect species and around 2000 are currently eaten across the world.
  • Grasshoppers, caterpillars, beetles, wasps, bees, tree bugs and ants remain some of the most common categories
  • Grasshoppers in particular can contain up to 77% protein, which has made them a go-to option for many insect entrepreneurs.
  • While crickets and mealworms also remain popular choices, especially in the European market.
  • One of the most common applications is flour and protein powder which is then used in everything from crisps and pasta to chocolate, cookies and macarons.
  • Even leading retailers like Sainsburys are stocking smoky BBQ roasted crickets alongside their summer selection of beers and wines.  

🐓How do they taste?

  • For those of you who have not yet munched on a mealworm, apparently they’re distinctly hazelnutty. Grasshoppers supposedly taste more like chicken. And cricket converts will tell you they have a popcorny flavour (who knew?).
Taste Testing Edible Bugs & Insects | Alternative Proteins

🤷‍♂️Why:

When compared to traditional protein, insect products:

👀Who:

  • Ÿnsect has raised $372M to date to commercialise the world’s most high-tech bug colony. It supplies fish farms so far, but is also looking to launch food grade mealworm ingredients
  • Protifarm landed $10M in 2019 to scale up its beetle-based tofu farm
  • Aspire Food Group scored $13.2M last month for the world’s first fully automated cricket protein plant
  • Entomo Farms bagged 3.7M CAD in January and is ramping up its pro-insect marketing efforts
  • Better Origin raised €2.5M to convert food waste to insect-based animal feed
  • FUNCiFUR just closed SEK7.5M seed funding for its dog food made from black soldier flies
  • Cricket One closed an undisclosed seed funding round in November to roll out a new cricket-based burger patty
  • Hargol FoodTech raised $3M last year to shake up the Israeli protein powders and supplements scene
  • Micronutris (angel funded in 2015) was the first European company to get behind insect protein
  • Essento (no public round yet) is a Swiss pioneer which got the law changed to accept insects as food
  • Hey Planet (no public round yet) is rearing nutrient-packed buffalo beetles for use in superfoods
  • Bug Farm Foods was awarded Welsh Government funding in 2017 to tackle childhood obesity
  • Small Giants (no public round yet) developed the first insect-based snacks to win a Great Taste Award
👎The challenges:
  • Many adult consumers still need more time to get over the ick factor and embrace bugs in their natural form.
  • The legal framework is still evolving, resulting in shifting regulatory requirements and guidelines at national level.
  • One of the major bottlenecks for insect based companies is the high investments associated with building a suitable facility - making it typically out of budget for startups and too high risk for the big food industry.

🔮Predictions:

  • In terms of product development, experts see potential in the functional foods, baked products, meat, diet-specific and specialty food segments in the next five years.
  • Studies have also highlighted a particular opportunity in the children’s food market. Less affected by the ick factor.
  • There may be good returns for budding bug entrepreneurs who focus on growing the next generation of bug lovers and develop products that win over the alternative protein purchasers of the future.


We’ve been tracking insect-friendly startups over on our Discovery board - check some of them out below 👇 We’ve even deep-dived into the topic of edible insects here on FoodHack+ last year.

What's your take on insects - would you eat insect protein, or feed it to your pets? Do you think it’s the next wave of alternative protein? Hit us up with the reply button, we’d love to hear your thoughts.

Become a FoodHack+ member to get unlimited access

  • Weekly 7-Minutes Trend Reports | Library of 60+ Reports
  • Proprietary FoodTech Database | Startups & Companies
  • FoodHack+ Insiders Community | Coming soon

Insects as protein. We’ve been tracking this for awhile now. Insects are a highly sustainable form of protein, but early insect-based snacks were mainly whole bugs, with all the legs and eyes and the potential to gross some consumers (me!) out.

My personal tastes aside, the global insect protein market is projected to reach $1.3 billion by 2025, and even authorities are getting behind bugs as an alternative protein. In October the UK government earmarked $13M for industrial insect farming, and in January, The European Food Safety Authority okayed mealworms as suitable for human consumption.

Here’s the latest on what you need to know:

🐜What:

  • According to the FAO, there are around 1900 edible insect species and around 2000 are currently eaten across the world.
  • Grasshoppers, caterpillars, beetles, wasps, bees, tree bugs and ants remain some of the most common categories
  • Grasshoppers in particular can contain up to 77% protein, which has made them a go-to option for many insect entrepreneurs.
  • While crickets and mealworms also remain popular choices, especially in the European market.
  • One of the most common applications is flour and protein powder which is then used in everything from crisps and pasta to chocolate, cookies and macarons.
  • Even leading retailers like Sainsburys are stocking smoky BBQ roasted crickets alongside their summer selection of beers and wines.  

🐓How do they taste?

  • For those of you who have not yet munched on a mealworm, apparently they’re distinctly hazelnutty. Grasshoppers supposedly taste more like chicken. And cricket converts will tell you they have a popcorny flavour (who knew?).
Taste Testing Edible Bugs & Insects | Alternative Proteins

🤷‍♂️Why:

When compared to traditional protein, insect products:

👀Who:

  • Ÿnsect has raised $372M to date to commercialise the world’s most high-tech bug colony. It supplies fish farms so far, but is also looking to launch food grade mealworm ingredients
  • Protifarm landed $10M in 2019 to scale up its beetle-based tofu farm
  • Aspire Food Group scored $13.2M last month for the world’s first fully automated cricket protein plant
  • Entomo Farms bagged 3.7M CAD in January and is ramping up its pro-insect marketing efforts
  • Better Origin raised €2.5M to convert food waste to insect-based animal feed
  • FUNCiFUR just closed SEK7.5M seed funding for its dog food made from black soldier flies
  • Cricket One closed an undisclosed seed funding round in November to roll out a new cricket-based burger patty
  • Hargol FoodTech raised $3M last year to shake up the Israeli protein powders and supplements scene
  • Micronutris (angel funded in 2015) was the first European company to get behind insect protein
  • Essento (no public round yet) is a Swiss pioneer which got the law changed to accept insects as food
  • Hey Planet (no public round yet) is rearing nutrient-packed buffalo beetles for use in superfoods
  • Bug Farm Foods was awarded Welsh Government funding in 2017 to tackle childhood obesity
  • Small Giants (no public round yet) developed the first insect-based snacks to win a Great Taste Award
👎The challenges:
  • Many adult consumers still need more time to get over the ick factor and embrace bugs in their natural form.
  • The legal framework is still evolving, resulting in shifting regulatory requirements and guidelines at national level.
  • One of the major bottlenecks for insect based companies is the high investments associated with building a suitable facility - making it typically out of budget for startups and too high risk for the big food industry.

🔮Predictions:

  • In terms of product development, experts see potential in the functional foods, baked products, meat, diet-specific and specialty food segments in the next five years.
  • Studies have also highlighted a particular opportunity in the children’s food market. Less affected by the ick factor.
  • There may be good returns for budding bug entrepreneurs who focus on growing the next generation of bug lovers and develop products that win over the alternative protein purchasers of the future.


We’ve been tracking insect-friendly startups over on our Discovery board - check some of them out below 👇 We’ve even deep-dived into the topic of edible insects here on FoodHack+ last year.

What's your take on insects - would you eat insect protein, or feed it to your pets? Do you think it’s the next wave of alternative protein? Hit us up with the reply button, we’d love to hear your thoughts.

Insects as protein. We’ve been tracking this for awhile now. Insects are a highly sustainable form of protein, but early insect-based snacks were mainly whole bugs, with all the legs and eyes and the potential to gross some consumers (me!) out.

My personal tastes aside, the global insect protein market is projected to reach $1.3 billion by 2025, and even authorities are getting behind bugs as an alternative protein. In October the UK government earmarked $13M for industrial insect farming, and in January, The European Food Safety Authority okayed mealworms as suitable for human consumption.

Here’s the latest on what you need to know:

🐜What:

  • According to the FAO, there are around 1900 edible insect species and around 2000 are currently eaten across the world.
  • Grasshoppers, caterpillars, beetles, wasps, bees, tree bugs and ants remain some of the most common categories
  • Grasshoppers in particular can contain up to 77% protein, which has made them a go-to option for many insect entrepreneurs.
  • While crickets and mealworms also remain popular choices, especially in the European market.
  • One of the most common applications is flour and protein powder which is then used in everything from crisps and pasta to chocolate, cookies and macarons.
  • Even leading retailers like Sainsburys are stocking smoky BBQ roasted crickets alongside their summer selection of beers and wines.  

🐓How do they taste?

  • For those of you who have not yet munched on a mealworm, apparently they’re distinctly hazelnutty. Grasshoppers supposedly taste more like chicken. And cricket converts will tell you they have a popcorny flavour (who knew?).
Taste Testing Edible Bugs & Insects | Alternative Proteins

🤷‍♂️Why:

When compared to traditional protein, insect products:

👀Who:

  • Ÿnsect has raised $372M to date to commercialise the world’s most high-tech bug colony. It supplies fish farms so far, but is also looking to launch food grade mealworm ingredients
  • Protifarm landed $10M in 2019 to scale up its beetle-based tofu farm
  • Aspire Food Group scored $13.2M last month for the world’s first fully automated cricket protein plant
  • Entomo Farms bagged 3.7M CAD in January and is ramping up its pro-insect marketing efforts
  • Better Origin raised €2.5M to convert food waste to insect-based animal feed
  • FUNCiFUR just closed SEK7.5M seed funding for its dog food made from black soldier flies
  • Cricket One closed an undisclosed seed funding round in November to roll out a new cricket-based burger patty
  • Hargol FoodTech raised $3M last year to shake up the Israeli protein powders and supplements scene
  • Micronutris (angel funded in 2015) was the first European company to get behind insect protein
  • Essento (no public round yet) is a Swiss pioneer which got the law changed to accept insects as food
  • Hey Planet (no public round yet) is rearing nutrient-packed buffalo beetles for use in superfoods
  • Bug Farm Foods was awarded Welsh Government funding in 2017 to tackle childhood obesity
  • Small Giants (no public round yet) developed the first insect-based snacks to win a Great Taste Award
👎The challenges:
  • Many adult consumers still need more time to get over the ick factor and embrace bugs in their natural form.
  • The legal framework is still evolving, resulting in shifting regulatory requirements and guidelines at national level.
  • One of the major bottlenecks for insect based companies is the high investments associated with building a suitable facility - making it typically out of budget for startups and too high risk for the big food industry.

🔮Predictions:

  • In terms of product development, experts see potential in the functional foods, baked products, meat, diet-specific and specialty food segments in the next five years.
  • Studies have also highlighted a particular opportunity in the children’s food market. Less affected by the ick factor.
  • There may be good returns for budding bug entrepreneurs who focus on growing the next generation of bug lovers and develop products that win over the alternative protein purchasers of the future.


We’ve been tracking insect-friendly startups over on our Discovery board - check some of them out below 👇 We’ve even deep-dived into the topic of edible insects here on FoodHack+ last year.

What's your take on insects - would you eat insect protein, or feed it to your pets? Do you think it’s the next wave of alternative protein? Hit us up with the reply button, we’d love to hear your thoughts.

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