What are the Most Edible Insects?

eating insects

Edible insects are a widely consumed food source by numerous indigenous populations in several parts of the world. North America is expected to witness significant growth in edible insects during the next ten years. The increasing demand in North America is attributed to the growing demand for environment-friendly protein-rich food. Moreover, increasing familiarity with insects-as-food, and altering attitudes towards insects, both in general and as food, are the key factors responsible for the rising acceptance of edible insects in North America.

Edible insects have high protein content, and their production has a small footprint. Insect species that are mass-reared, such as the black soldier fly, have drawn significant attention due to their ability to feed on materials like organic waste streams. The ability of the black soldier fly to convert organic waste into high-quality nutrients has rapidly spurred the development of black soldier fly-based products, such as protein meal, which is cheaper than fishmeal or soybean meal and can be used as an alternative source of protein in pig, poultry, and fish feeds. According to the FDA, when soybean and fishmeal were replaced with black soldier fly larvae meal by 10–56%, broiler quail and chicken meat had a satisfactory taste, aroma, and nutritional composition.

Based on product, the edible insect market is segmented into whole insects, insect powder, insect meal, and insect oil. The insect powder segment is expected to grow at the highest rate in the next several years. The increasing inclination of consumers toward fitness & wellness, the rising number of health clubs & fitness centers serving insect powder, the emergence of several brands producing insect protein bars & shakes, and busy lifestyles demanding highly nutritious & convenient foods using insect powder fuels this growth.

Cricket segment to dominate the edible insect market

Based on insect type, the edible insect market is segmented into crickets, mealworms, black soldier flies, buffalo worms, grasshoppers, ants, silkworms, cicadas, and others. The cricket segment is estimated to account for the largest share of the edible insects market. The growth of the cricket segment is attributed to the high nutritional value and easy farming & processing of crickets, their incorporation into various recipes and foods products, and the rising demand for cricket-based food products, such as protein powders,

Edible crickets are excellent sources of proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, mineral salts, and vitamins. Most of the edible crickets supply adequate energy and proteins to the consumer diet, at the same time meeting the amino acid requirements. Crickets also possess a high value of monounsaturated (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). Besides, these insects are rich in micro-nutrient elements such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, Sodium, Iron, zinc, manganese, and copper as well as vitamins like folic acid, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, and biotin, which are the most deficient nutrients in humans. Crickets are a good source of various nutrients required to support a healthy lifestyle.

Will insects be part of your regular diet in the near future? Don’t be surprised, not only are they good for you, but for our environment as well.

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