In order to fulfil the food demand of growing population, current food production needs to double in size, which requires finding environmental friendly and sustainable food production methods and sources of high nutrition. Edible insects could be great solution for this due to their capability to satisfy the food need with the high nutrition for human consumption, and also, their use as food has ecological advantages over conventional meat and other sources.

The global edible insects market is poised to increase at a CAGR of 23.8% from 2018 to 2023 to reach $1,181.6 million by 2023”, says Meticulous Research

Here are the top 5 five insects that can replace your regular meal-

  1. Cricket

The scientists have identified more than 900 species of crickets. The cricket family, called Gryllidae, has a worldwide distribution that spreads North to lower Alaska and South to the end of South America.

Crickets are part of a larger insect-based diet enjoyed in most parts of the world. They are loaded with protein, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. In the western countries, the interest of using insects as a food has gained a momentum. Crickets have long been flagged around the world as the future of food, and gaining popularity in the countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Canada, Australia, and the U.S. In Southeast Asia, deep-fried crickets are a common snack food. Also, cricket farming has been encouraged in Thailand through the SMCE scheme under the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives.

The crickets commanded the largest share of 31.6% in the global edible insects market in 2017”, says Meticulous Research

  1. Mealworms

Mealworms are the larvae of mealworm beetle, Tenebrio molitor. The larvae may also be called yellow mealworms or golden grubs. With a size from 1-1.5 inches long, these insects are a rich source of protein that is necessary for muscle development in animals.

The mealworms are commercially produced in the Western world as a pet food for reptiles and birds, and as fish bait. In addition, they are promising species for human consumption. So, many companies started production of mealworms for human consumption. Edible Mealworms can perfectly and easily fit or replace nuts, raisins or salted biscuits. They can even be a substitute for chocolate bits in pastries. In the making of salty pies, they can easily replace ham cubes.

  1. Black Soldier Flies

Black soldier flies are capable of efficiently converting a wide variety of organic materials, from food waste to manure, into marketable protein commodities. The organic waste in the black soldier flies farm is eaten by the fly larvae and after only few days, the larvae mature to prepupa and pupa stages, when they can be harvested. They are very nutrient rich, containing about 5% calcium and 42% protein by weight. This high protein composition means that about 1 gram of these insects can yield 2.4 Kilograms of protein after only 18 days. That’s enough protein to feed over 40 adult humans (using an average recommendation of 56 grams per day). These high percentages of calcium and protein make soldier flies ideal ingredient for fish, poultry, and pig feed markets.

  1. Buffalos

Buffalo worms are the larvae of Alphitobius Diaperinus and are very nutritious due to their high protein and low-fat content. They are tasty and are less hard than the mealworms, therefore better digestible. After the processing of buffalo worm, they are widely used in the food and feed applications.

The buffalo powder is developed through the processing of buffalos, which can serve in a variety of food formulations. This powder delivers protein along with a rich collection of fiber, healthy fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. It can be used to enhance the characteristics of existing food, and substitute ingredients with high nutrition and environmental sustainability.

  1. Grasshoppers

Grasshoppers belong to the orthoptera insect order. According to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), there are more than 20,000 species of orthoptera order insects worldwide. In orthopteran insects, almost 80 grasshopper species are consumed worldwide and the large majority of grasshopper species are edible. Only the adult long horned grasshoppers are harvested and consumed. The wings are pulled off to consume it as a raw. Otherwise, they may be boiled, cleaned, and fried before consumption.

However, as the insects are seasonally available, they are often preserved by drying, frying or formulated into various food and feed products.

Popular mentions- ants, silkworms, and cicadas

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