Global Insect Protein Market

According to the report published by Research and Markets, the global insect protein market was estimated to be at US$ 428.12 Million in 2022, which is expected to grow with a CAGR of 26.5% and reach US$ 1,386.55 million by 2027. The market is driven by factors such as increased population, rising urbanization, growing venture investments in alternative protein companies, innovation in food technology, the high nutritional value of edible insects, and environmental sustainability with the production & consumption of alternative protein.

Global Insect Protein 
MarketBy Derya Yildiz
The growing world population and the pressure caused by it on food and feed demand has been a global concern since a decade. As the world population proliferates, the demand for food as well as feed will increase, thereby necessitating an increase in food production by 70%. When we add the environmental concerns and the reality of sustainability to all these, it has become inevitable to evaluate alternatives better. Insects are a remarkable alternative for both human and animal nutrition that have been on the agenda in recent years. However, its place in our life is not new. Insects are an essential part of the everyday food intake for over 2 billion people worldwide.

When compared to other animals and plants, insects are a better source of protein. Also, insect protein production is less expensive. In the beginning, insect protein was only used in animal feed. However, as more people become aware of the high protein content of insects, it has become widely used in a variety of industries. Today, insect protein is used in a variety of products, including food and beverages, medicines, nutraceuticals, cosmetics, pet food, and animal and poultry feed.

Apart from the high protein content, insects are a source of essential fats, high-quality lipids, fiber, vitamins, and minerals such as iron and calcium. The most used insect protein production is mealworms, black soldier flies, locusts, and crickets.

What is the estimated industry size of insect protein? It is difficult to give a clear answer to this question. As in many production areas, market research companies have different estimates in this area. For example; The report of Markets and Markets explains that the market size was valued at US$ 0.8 billion in 2022 and is projected to reach US$ 3.3 billion by 2027 at a CAGR of 33.4% from 2022 to 2027.

On the other hand, Data Bridge Market Research analyses that the insect protein market was valued at US$ 543.67 million in 2021 and is expected to reach the value of US$ 1,395.54 million by 2029, at a CAGR of 24.7% during 2022-2029 forecast period.

According to another research published by Research and Markets, the global insect protein market was estimated to be at US$ 428.12 Million in 2022, which is expected to grow with a CAGR of 26.5% and reach US$ 1,386.55 million by 2027.

Fortune Business Insights is the research company with the lowest estimates. According to the company’s report; the global insect protein market size was US$ 153.92 million in 2021. The market is projected to grow from US$ 189.32 million in 2022 to US$ 856.08 million by 2029, exhibiting a CAGR of 24.1% during the forecast period.

The insect protein market is driven by factors such as rising urbanization, growing venture investments in alternative protein companies, innovation in food technology, the high nutritional value of edible insects, and environmental sustainability with the production & consumption of alternative protein. According to the report of Research and Markets, the global protein market is evolving and growing as consumers’ demand for protein rises. From next-generation plant-based meats to on-the-go protein snacks to dairy protein bioactive for sports performance, protein is everywhere for today’s consumers. Buyers’ increasing and strong interest in protein are developing new lucrative opportunities that touch on the functional benefits of diverse proteins, protein diversity in the diet, and new protein sources. The adoption of insect-based protein has been growing in the food & beverages segment to fulfill consumers’ increasing demand.

Additionally, insects are a more useful source of protein compared to other plants and animals and rearing insect protein is less costly. Therefore, while the insect-based proteins were used only as an ingredient for animal feed in the initial stage, they are now used in many different industries. This also supports the market growth.

Experts of Markets and Markets are of the opinion that Defined Regulations and Government Support provide support for market development. According to the experts, consumption and acceptance of insect protein products is highly associated to the key sensory factors such as texture, taste, and appearance. Various regulatory bodies are conducting studies and research to help provide consumers with appropriate guidelines regarding the use of insect protein and its benefits. These regulatory acceptance and approvals are projected to provide lucrative growth opportunities to the participants in the market.

In its report, Research and Markets draws attention to another point that drives the growth in the market. According to the report, with an increased worldwide focus on achieving net-zero emissions, the shift to eco-friendly, sustainable products brings significant sales and financing opportunities. The shift is more prominent in the food and beverages industry in regions such as North America and Europe. Thus, insect protein-based products are a great alternative to conventional plant and animal-based food products.

There are also factors restraining the growth of the insect protein market. Especially high costs are among the most important of these factors. According to the report of Research and Markets, insect protein is one of the unique, promising animal feed proteins, owing to its functional, environmental, and nutritional benefits. However, high costs, legislation, and limited production capacity remain the main restraining factors for growth. Insect-based proteins are still expensive to produce; the equipment and procedures required to make them need optimization for large-scale production. Few consumers are inclined to pay higher prices for the health and environmental benefits of protein derived from insects, but numerous are priced out of this market.

Microbial risk and allergic reactions are also considered as another restraining factor. According to Research and Markets, consumption of insect protein is highly prone to various allergic risks both for human and animal consumption. Use of insect protein is still in the early phase of research for use in various applications and thus have high risk of various unknown allergic and associated diseases, that cannot be treated on an immediate basis. Risks associated with eating insects could be caused by probable chemical (e.g., heavy metal accumulation) and microbiological contaminations.

In addition, the preferences of consumers affected by Covid-19 can be added to this. Experts of Research and Markets think that as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, a potential shift in consumers’ food choices might occur, particularly concerning food of animal origin. Therefore, it is projected that there will be a higher rejection to consume unusual foods of animal origin like insects. In the case of insects used for food and feed, there are also concerns about the risk of transmission of zoonotic infections to humans.

Another risk factor valid for all animal-based product groups is the increasing vegan diet trend. According to the report, excessive consumption of animal-based protein has been proven to result in various diet-related diseases such as obesity, type-2 diabetes, heart diseases, and certain cancers. Whereas, on the other hand, the consumption of vegan products is observed not to accentuate such diseases; moreover, they help in building better immunity. Vegan products are replacing conventional processed meat products such as burgers, sausages, and nuggets. This is because vegetarian food contains lower levels of saturated fat, cholesterol, and calories than animal-based meat. It often contains higher levels of micronutrients such as zinc, iron, and calcium. Considering this rapid growth of the vegan population, various meat product manufacturers are shifting toward producing plant-based meat and soy-based products, which is anticipated to hamper the growth of the market.

The global insect protein market in the application segment is expected to be dominated by the animal feed industry. This is due to being a highly nutritious product and the higher insect feed conversion efficiency. When added to feed mixtures, insect protein aids in improving the rate of weight gain in animals, preventing diseases and vitamin deficiencies and improving feed digestion and conversion. Protein derived from insect use in animal feed provides various nutritious ingredients, including amino acids necessary for muscle building, vitamins, and minerals. Insect-based protein can be utilized to manufacture aquafeed, pet feed, and other product types of animal feed products.

According to the report of Markets and Markets, the animal nutrition segment was the highest revenue contributor to the market, with US$ 341.0 million in 2021, and is estimated to reach US$ 1,870.7 million by 2027, with a CAGR of 32.8%. The food & beverages segment is estimated to reach US$ 1,407.2 million by 2027, at a significant CAGR of 34.3% during the forecast period (2022-2027).

What is the leading type in the insect protein market? Most research reports answer this question as the cricket segment. For example, according to the report of Markets and Markets, the cricket segment was the highest revenue contributor to the market, with US$ 182.4 million in 2021, and is estimated to reach US$ 1,125.2 million by 2027, with a CAGR of 35.4%.

According to the experts of Markets and Markets, North America is anticipated to hold the largest market share in the insect protein market in 2022, followed by Europe, Asia Pacific, and RoW. The presence of key insect protein manufacturing companies in developed regions such as North America and Europe contributes to these regions’ high market share. Many start-ups have been established in the region that provide both edible insects and insect protein-based products for food and feed applications.

Research and Markets’ report also supports that the market leadership is in North America in 2021. According to the report, North America generated the highest revenue of US$ 86 million in 2021. Europe also has a significant share of revenue in the year 2021-2027. Since in the Asia-Pacific and Japan region, people have a long history of eating insects, thus the insect protein market is growing at a tremendous rate and will grow with a high CAGR 31.11% during the forecast period, 2022-2027.

The insect protein market is concentrated and competitive with various large-scale and small-scale manufacturers present in the market. According to the reports of research companies and developments in the industry, various companies in the insect protein market are undertaking strategies to expand their business and gain the market share. Some of the key strategies adopted by the industry participants are new product launches, partnerships, and acquisitions.

Major Players:
AgriProtein (Insect Technology)
All Things Bugs LLC
Armstrong Cricket Farm Georgia
Aspire Food Group
Beta Bugs
Beta Hatch Inc.
Chapul Cricket Protein
Cowboy Cricket Farms
Deli Bugs Ltd.
Enterra Corporation
Entobel Holding
EntoCube Ltd.
Entofood Sdn Bhd
Entomo Farms
Global Bugs
Haocheng Mealworms
Hargol FoodTech
Next Protein Inc.
Nutrition Technologies
Rocky Mountain Micro Ranch
SFly Comgraf SAS
Smart Resilin
Swarm Nutrition
Thailand Unique
Tiny Farms

Some Important Developments in the Market
– In May 2018, Protix formed a joint venture with Buhler to create rearing and processing solutions for the global market. Also, to ensure the growth of the worldwide market for insect-based ingredients. ‘Buhler Insect Technology Solutions’ was formed by these two companies with set beliefs and goals in terms of quality and safety.

– In January 2020, Darling Ingredients announced the acquisition of Intrexon Corporation’s 50% joint venture interest in EnviroFlight, LLC, making it the sole owner of the U.S. insect protein producer.

– In November 2020, Protenga built smart insect farms that produce insect proteins that can be used as feed or fertiliser in agriculture. To overcome the cost and sustainability pitfalls of centralised insect-based farming systems, the smart insect farms are built in a modular and decentralised system near waste biomass sources. They are designed to take in 20-60 metric tons of feedstock per day.

– In November 2020, AgriProtein, a subsidiary of ITG, announced the formation of “Bioko!”, a joint venture with PreZero US. PreZero, a German-based company, is a global recycler that is at the forefront of developing circular economy solutions from 90 locations in nine countries. The two companies have joined forces to form an operating entity in the United States for nutrient recycling processes.

– In March 2021, Nutrition Technologies raised USD 5 million in a Pre-Series B funding round to establish an insect protein factory in Malaysia. The existing investors, Openspace Ventures and SEEDS Capital, the investment arm of Enterprise Singapore, participated in the investment.

– In October 2021, Aspire Food Group has expanded their automated production facility in London, to produce 10,000 tons of crickets/year.

– In November 2021, Agronutris, a French insect protein producer, announced plans to invest approximately $116 million in the construction of two new factories in north-eastern France that would supply a significant portion of their output to the European pet food industry.

– In November 2021, Ÿnsect launched the Bernie’s, an ultra-premium and luxury brand for dog feed in US market in collaboration with Pure Simple True LLC.

– In December 2021, Neo Bites, a sustainable pet food start-up founded to improve dog health and the pet food industry’s relationship with the environment, has launched the first line of functional dog food toppers made from insect protein.

– In February 2022, Innovafeed announced a collaboration with the ADM. In this collaboration, Innovafeed will offer its black soldier fly protein to ADM’s pet food division to make ‘high-quality, nutritious’ products that have a ‘much smaller carbon footprint and land need’ than conventional animal protein.

– In April 2022, Global Bugs has made strategic partnership with Innovative Natural Solutions. The goal of Global Bugs Asia (GBA) and Innovative Natural Solutions (INS) is to collaboratively promote, support, and manufacture and distribute nutritious food items using a combination of plant-based components and crickets.

1. Markets and Markets; Insect Protein Market – 2027; August 2022;
2. Data Bridge Market Research; Global Insect Protein Market – Industry Trends and Forecast to 2029; August 2022;
3. Research and Markets; Insect Protein Market – A Global and Regional Analysis, 2022-2027; May 2022;
4. Fortune Business Insights; Insect Protein Market 2022-2029; March 2022;
5. Grand View Research, Inc.; Global Insect Protein Market Size Report, 2021-2028;
6. Mordor Intelligence; Global Insect Protein Market – Size, Share, Covid-19 Impact & Forecasts Up o 2026;