Kids will be the most effective ambassadors for the edible insect industry. If we can convince them that eating bugs is healthy, sustainable, tasty, and COOL, then they will compel their parents to make product purchases and the industry to meet demand in kind. If marketers know that kids crave these delicious critters, it bodes well for the entire edible insect industry. And what happens to kids when they stop being kids? They become insect-eating adults, influencing their future families and peers with their minds and wallets.
The North American Coalition for Insect Agriculture (NACIA) responds to efforts by Senators Flake and Cortez Masto to prohibit USDA subsidies for Insect Agriculture
December 17, 2018:
Global interest in Insects as Food and Feed was sparked by the 2013 release of a report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO): Edible Insects – Future Prospects for Food and Feed Security. Concerns about feeding a rapidly growing worldwide population (estimated to reach 9 billion or higher by 2050 from 7.5 billion today) led to problem-solving around increasing food production in an environment of ever-increasing scarcity.
After a failed attempt to add an amendment to the Farm Bill earlier this year that sought to ban research funding for insect agriculture and insect-based foods, Senator Flake (R-AZ) has now teamed up with Senator Cortez Masto (D-NV) in a renewed effort to frame ongoing research supporting insect farming as “wasteful.” Their proposed legislation (Removing Excessive Dollars to Uproot and Cut Expensive (REDUCE) Government Waste Act) is heavy on puns but light on facts concerning insects.
Many innovations are misunderstood in their infancy until the scales tip to wider acceptance. In many parts of the world, insects as food and feed are well established. Research shows that insects have been an important part of the human diet for millennia, and remain a protein-rich food staple for billions of people today.Nearby, in Mexico, there are more than 549 known species of insects which are eaten, and comida prehispanica is once again trending. One of the most well-known is the chapuline, a type of tasty grasshopper which holds deep cultural culinary importance.
Today, insects as a source of protein for food and feed is a growing industry with over 250 companies worldwide. The insects as feed industry alone was estimated to be worth $900 million in 2016 and is forecast to reach $1.5 billion by 2022 (Mordor Intelligence, 2017). The edible insects market is expected to reach nearly $1.2 billion by 2023, supported by a CAGR of 23.8% per a recent Research and Markets report. There is an explosion of growth in this industry globally and the U.S. lags behind. “The insect agriculture industry has grown tremendously in only a few short years – creating jobs, starting American businesses, and fueling economic growth. All signs point to that growth not only continuing, but accelerating. We would welcome the opportunity to show Senators Cortez Masto and Flake how this new agricultural sector could benefit not just the small business owners and farmers already active across 27 states, but their constituents in Nevada and Arizona as well,” said Robert Nathan Allen, NACIA President.
See below for a press released titled December 12th, 2018 from Ÿnsect:
Gut health, cumulative mortality and weight gain have been tested with, in the end, outstanding performance. Thanks to the results of this trial, Ÿnsect has further demonstrated its commitment to high-performance premium alternative protein ingredients with nutrition and health benefits for animals and plants.
Eating Insects Athens was [insert superlatives here] beautiful. Thank you to everyone who participated in Eating Insects Athens, and to those of you that couldn’t make it but have been a part of my bug family still. I hope you enjoy this little blog post. If you don’t feel like reading, you can check out my recap video here:
Getting more chefs involved will be critical to the public’s education around and acceptance of bugs as ingredients. With over 2000 edible insect flavors to explore, chefs have a relatively untouched treasure chest of ingredients to explore, each with unique, complex flavor profiles.
Chefs are the Gate Keepers of consumer preference and continue to expand our cuisines with innovative concepts and casual, eclectic menus. It’s not uncommon for one chef alone to drive a vibrant micro food culture in a city, thus expanding appreciation for new foods and dishes that impact customers’ attitudes nationwide.
According to Menus of Change, the past two years have been dominated by vegetable-focused menus, resulting in a “normalization” of vegetable dishes as fully belonging on acclaimed menus and as “vehicles for culinary creativity.” It is my goal to see a similar trend with bugs. It will be key for chefs to champion our efforts to gain consumer acceptance of bugs as ingredients.
For these reasons, I’m elated to announce words my mother never thought she would hear: I’ll be partnering with the International Culinary Center (ICC) for a class titled “How & Why We Eat Bugs.” The class will include a guided tasting and is open to the public on Monday, August 27, 2018, from 3:00 – 5:00 pm at the Campbell, CA campus.
It seems the big bugs news just keeps getting better! I’m excited to share this announcement with Bugible readers:
[PRESS RELEASE July 13, 2018] – Austin, TX – Little Herds, the Austin-based entomophagy (bug-eating) education nonprofit, will launch Ento-Prize, a pitch challenge for entrepreneurs with insect-driven ideas, announced founder and Director Robert Nathan Allen today. Winners will receive industry-specific mentorship, specialized services and a to-be-determined amount of prize money to help fund their idea.
Woo hoo – the edible insect world just took a major step forward today!
Check out Seek Food’s new Kickstarter campaign. They are working with an insanely talented team of award-winning chefs to launch a line of baking flours targeted to specific dietary needs and an accompanying world-class cookbook. Over the past year, they’ve learned a ton about how chefs, bakers, and customers everywhere incorporate bugs into their diets. Now they’re putting that research to use:
Influencer marketing. You see it all the time – the Instagram models with #ad in their caption, pushing the cute jeans they’re wearing or the blue gummy hair vitamins. If you’re unfamiliar with this trend, you need to crawl out from under your rock, hop on any of the major social media platforms, and take a gander at the advertising age of branded content. It makes sense – YouTube or Instagram influencers have a lot of market power, as they are more relatable than traditional celebrities and have very loyal fan bases. And, most importantly, many reach most brand’s ideal market: the elusive millennial.
Why Influencers and Content Creators Matter (Even to Bug Companies)
These influencers are, well, quite influential. And it’s not just products they are promoting – it’s a restaurant, an experience, a vacation destination, a way of living, and more. I’m particularly interested in the trend of influencers promoting ideas. Sometimes they start trends, and other times they are the spark that catalyzes a movement into the limelight. Whereas we are accustomed to tuning out traditional advertising, influencer campaigns have not just the “views” or “impressions” required to make an impact, but they also command the genuine attention of their fans.
All natural, organic, dairy free and complete protein products made with cricket powder. This is the promise made by Byron Bay (Austrailia) based company Grilo. Grilo means “cricket” in Portuguese.
On their site, they write, “According to the dictionary, a cricket is a brown or black insect that makes short, loud noises by rubbing its wings together. For us it means much more than that.” I love it.
Around 40 years ago the U.S. did not relish the idea of consuming raw fish. Many, in fact, even considered eating raw fish barbaric… something for the uncultured or poor. Now sushi is a thriving industry. All it took was some clever branding, the California Roll, and time.