The growth of the Asia-Pacific edible insects market is mainly attributed to factors such as well-established commercial farming markets for edible insects, especially in Thailand, the wide availability of various insects coupled with huge production, the positive attitude towards insects as food & feed, absence of regulatory barriers to using insects as food & feed, and the presence of key market players in the region. In addition, the growth of the edible insects market for animal feed is mainly attributed to factors such as the increasing consumption of meat & seafood, the rise of the aquaculture industry, the growing awareness regarding the use of insects as an alternative protein source for use in animal feed, and the increasing prices of fish meals.
Asia-Pacific is environmentally and culturally diverse. Each country in the region has different cultures, cuisines, and eating habits. One of the major aspects of this geographical and cultural diversity is how insects are used as food or feed. Many countries in Asia-Pacific do not have a negative attitude toward insects as food or feed, which is one of the major factors responsible for the growth of the edible insects market. The Asian Food and Feed Insects Association (AFFIA) is a voluntary group that aims to bring the industry and research stakeholders in the insects sector into a collaborative movement toward the development of entomoculture, entomophagy, and their related activities.
In Asia-Pacific, over 50 species of insects are edible and can be consumed throughout the year. The most popular species include silkworm pupae, bamboo worms, locusts, beetles, crickets, and red ants. In this region, Thailand is one of the largest consumers of edible insects globally. There are more than 20,000 insect farms, with an annual average production of 7,500 tons/year. Thus, the lucrative growth opportunities have resulted in the entry of several companies into the edible insects market in Thailand, such as The Cricket Lab, a cricket flour vendor; Bugsolutely, an Italian company that offers pasta made with cricket flour; and Ento, a startup based in Kuala Lumpur that offers a wide portfolio of insect-protein products including insect snacks.
Furthermore, the growing investment in the edible insects market in Asia-Pacific is also one of the major factors boosting the demand for edible insects. For instance, in 2020, Thai Union Group (a Thailand-based seafood processing enterprise) acquired a stake in Manna Foods (an American insect-tech company). This acquisition aligns with its goal to make alternative proteins a growth segment for its business. The enterprise also announced an investment into FlySpArk, a startup developing protein products from fruit flies in collaboration with leading food companies such as Groupo Bimbo and Nestlé.
In addition, in 2020, the number of businesses engaged in the insect industry reached 2,873 in South Korea–an increase of 13.3% from 2019 (Source: South Korean Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs). The companies' growing number of investments in insect protein is expected to boost the demand for edible insects in this region.
The key players operating in the edible insects market in Asia-Pacific include Global Bugs Asia Co., Ltd. (Thailand), Cricket Lab Limited (U.K.), Ÿnsect (SAS) (France), Entobel Holding Pte. Ltd (Singapore), Entofood (Malaysia), Nutrition Technologies Group (Singapore), Protenga Pte Ltd (Singapore), and JR Unique Foods (Thailand). Meticulous Research®, in its latest publication on the ‘Global Edible Insects Market,’ states that the Edible Insect market is expected to reach $9.60 billion by 2030, at a CAGR of 28.3% during the forecast period 2022—2030.
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