The Crickets Market is expected to reach $3.5 billion by 2029, at a CAGR of 28.6% during the forecast period of 2022–2029. Some of the major factors driving the growth of this market are the growing emission of greenhouse gases from livestock and poultry, the rising demand for cricket-based food products, and the high nutritional value of crickets.
In addition, emerging economies, such as Southeast Asia, the Middle East & Africa, and Latin America offer significant growth opportunities for crickets stakeholders as these regions are more suitable for cricket farming. However, the lack of a standardized regulatory framework and psychological and ethical barriers to insects as a food hinders the growth of this market to a notable extent.
COVID-19 Accelerating Transition to Crickets-based products
In May 2020, since the SARS-CoV-2 virus was transmitted from animals, Wuhan China’s municipal government banned breeding, hunting, and consuming wild animals for five years. This ban is expected to trigger restrictions on the consumption of certain animals and related products across various cities and countries worldwide, further increasing the shortage of meat products and accelerating the demand for alternative substitutes, such as edible insects and plant-based products.
The increasing health & wellness trends and growing health awareness about the risks of viral infections, cardiovascular diseases, liver diseases, disorders of bone and calcium balance, and cancer associated with the long-term use of animal proteins have created traction for sustainable protein sources and farming practices, such as cricket farming that can be cost-effectively reared on waste feed and water. To capture this traction in the crickets industry, many vendors have started focusing on enhancing their production capacities, updating cricket farming facilities, processes, end products, and receiving funds from investors. Some of the major strategic developments undertaken in 2021 were:
- In October 2021, Aspire Food Group (U.S.) announced its plan to open a 100,000sqft automated cricket processing facility near London for C$ 90million ($71.8 Million)
- In January 2021, Entomo Farms (Canada) raised C$ 3.7 million ($ 2.9 million) in a funding round by Investors in Asia and Canada to support the company’s growth and expansion.
Thus, the rising preference for alternative proteins over animal proteins as a source of protein and immunity booster post-COVID-19 outbreak has created a new wave of interest in the crickets market.
Rising Demand for Cricket-based Food Products
Insects are now considered a functional food ingredient and an integral part of food in most countries worldwide, including Thailand, Mexico, China, and the Netherlands. These insect-derived ingredients offer a more environmentally friendly source of protein than many other foods. Crickets are among the most common edible insects consumed. They are a rich source of protein, vitamins, amino acids, iron, and zinc. The high nutritional components present in crickets make them suitable for human consumption.
The increasing population has indirectly increased the demand for meat; however, the harmful gases from livestock production have major impacts on environmental sustainability, thereby influencing people to shift towards plant-based meat or meat that has lower impacts on the ecosystem. Thus, crickets, a potential alternative source of protein, are considered a replacement for meat. Increased consumption of crickets as a protein source has led to the adoption of cricket protein in different food products, such as cricket pasta, burger, crickets infused candies and lollipops, beverages, cricket protein powder in bakery products, and also whole dried crickets as toppings.
Some companies have started capitalizing on the demand for crickets in food products. For instance, in May 2021, Altimate Nutrition, a Singapore-based startup, launched Singapore’s first insect-based protein bars. Similarly, Join Earth, a Japanese startup, in February 2020, launched its first cricket-based soy sauce, the first drink to be claimed as beer obtained from crickets. Also, in March 2018, Aspired Food Group acquired Exo to produce cricket bars. Thus, the rising usage of crickets as an ingredient in various food products, their increasing availability in the market, and the rising acceptance of these products drive the demand for crickets.
Lack of Standardized Regulatory Framework Hinder the Growth of Crickets Market
Environmentalists have long touted insect agriculture as a highly efficient alternative source to cattle, chickens, and swine. Insects are a delicacy in many countries, such as Thailand and Vietnam, and there is no regulatory hurdle for their production, marketing, and consumption. However, in western countries, regulations present a significant barrier to the usage of insects in food and feed. Western regulators are split on whether insects should be considered within the existing food legislation or constitute a novel food product, which requires extensive testing. In 2015, the European Food Safety Authority included insects as a novel food for human consumption. On the other hand, the Novel Food rules are stringent, and organizations have to go through a lengthy approval process to sell insects in European markets.
Some European countries decided to diverge from the EU decision. The National authorities in the U.K., the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, and Switzerland have rejected the concept that insects require an approval process. However, these countries have limitations on importing insects from non-EU countries. In addition, insects are allowed to be used in poultry and pet food in some countries. For instance, in the Netherlands, niche products, such as insect lipid for piglet feed, protein meal for pet food, and live larvae for egg-producing chickens are permitted; however, in other European countries, the use of insects in animal feed is strictly regulated.
Further, similar rules surrounding novel food approval are in place in North America. In Canada, regulatory approval is mandatory from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada. In the U.S., the FDA and the Ingredients Definition Committee of the Association of American Feed Control Officials are responsible for approving feed ingredients. FDA allows crickets to be used as food under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. However, cricket flour is not GRAS certified by the FDA, the agency has made no ruling against it, and it is still legal for commercial sale.
Therefore, the uncertain and non-standardized regulatory scenario for the use and consumption of insects as food and feed across regions is expected to limit the growth of the crickets market to a notable extent during the analysis period.
Key Findings in the Global Crickets Market Study:
Whole Crickets Segment Estimated to Account for Largest Share of Crickets Market
Based on product, the crickets market is segmented into whole crickets, cricket powder, cricket meal, and other products. The whole crickets segment is estimated to account for the larger share of the global crickets market in 2022. The large share of this segment is attributed to the abundant availability of whole crickets, the lower cost of these insects than processed forms, and the higher demand for whole insects from protein ingredients and food manufacturers for further processing and use in various applications.
The simplest method of eating cricket is to consume it raw. The other common method includes steaming, simmering in hot water or soup, roasting it in skewers, or frying in hot oil. They are also commonly cooked together with vegetables and spices. Crickets can be consumed whole as meals and side dishes.
However, the cricket powder segment is expected to grow at a higher CAGR during the forecast period. The high growth rate is mainly attributed to the ease of handling during the incorporation in various food products and the wide range of applications in various food and animal food products.
House Crickets Segment Estimated to Account for Largest Share of Crickets Market
Based on species, the crickets market is mainly segmented into house cricket (Acheta domesticus) and other species (Gryllus and others). In 2022, the house crickets segment is expected to account for the larger share of the global crickets market. The large share of this segment is mainly attributed to the high nutritional value of house crickets in human and animal nutrition, low costs, and the rising acceptance, approval, and production for this cricket species as food and feed. House crickets are a rich nutritional source and are often used as human food. House crickets contain higher protein content than other cricket species, encouraging their use for human consumption and animal nutrition, especially in aquaculture.
Cricket Protein Bars and Protein Shakes Segment to Grow at Highest CAGR During Forecast Period
Based on application, the global crickets market is mainly divided into processed whole crickets, animal feed and pet food products, protein supplement powder, cricket protein bars and protein shakes, bakery products, snacks, beverages, and other applications. The processed whole crickets segment is expected to command the largest share of the global crickets market in 2022.
However, the cricket protein bars and protein shakes segment is expected to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period. The increasing demand for protein bars derived from edible insects, especially crickets, is attributed to the rapid proliferation of health & fitness clubs, the growing awareness regarding healthy lifestyles, and the increasing consumer preference towards ready-to-eat food products. Consumers prefer buying protein bars for various purposes, such as improving muscle mass, managing weight, boosting immunity, and increasing energy.
Human Consumption Segment Estimated to Account for Largest Share of Crickets Market
By end use, the global crickets market is segmented into human consumption, animal nutrition, and other end uses. In 2022, the human consumption segment is expected to account for the largest share of the crickets market. The large share of this segment is attributed to the increasing demand for innovative & sustainable food items to meet the exponentially growing global population, the high nutritional value of crickets, the growing demand for eco-friendly alternative sources of protein, and the rising awareness about the benefits & need for high protein foods.
In addition, the production and processing of crickets and crickets-based foods involve minimal initial processing, drying or freezing/grinding into flours, and a subsequent process and formulation of more elaborated products that reflect consumer preference. Crickets are used as raw materials to influence the quality of the final product.
North America to Provide Significant Growth Opportunities for Crickets Market
Based on geography, the crickets market is segmented into five major regions: North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East & Africa. In 2022, Asia-Pacific is estimated to account for the largest share of the global crickets market. The large market share of this region is attributed to the well-established commercial cricket farming, especially in Thailand, the availability of diverse cricket species & huge production, the positive attitude towards crickets as food & feed, absence of regulatory barriers on using crickets as food & feed, and the presence of key market players.
However, the North American crickets market is expected to record the highest CAGR during the forecast period. The rapid market growth in this region is mainly attributed to the growing demand for environment-friendly high protein diets, aversion to highly processed foods, the increasing demand for insect-based foods, a growing number of crickets-based food product manufacturers, and the rising environmental concerns about meat production.
The report includes a competitive landscape based on an extensive assessment of the key strategic developments adopted by the leading market participants in the crickets market during four years. The key players operating in the global crickets market are KRECA (Part of Protifarm Holding NV) (Netherlands), Entomo Farms (Canada), Aspire Food Group (U.S.), All Things Bugs, LLC (U.S.), Armstrong Cricket Farm Georgia (U.S.), Cricket Lab Limited (U.K.), Global Bugs Asia Co. Ltd. (Thailand), JR Unique Foods Ltd. (Thailand), Protix B.V. (Netherlands), and Cricket Foods (U.K.), and Entogama (Lithuania).
Scope of the report
Crickets Market, by Product
- Whole Crickets
- Cricket Powder
- Cricket Meal
- Other Products
Crickets Market, by Species
- House Cricket (Acheta Domesticus)
- Other Species (Gryllus and Others)
Crickets Market, by Application
- Processed Whole Crickets
- Protein Supplement Powder
- Animal Feed and Pet Food Products
- Cricket Protein Bars and Protein Shakes
- Bakery Products and Snacks
- Cricket Beverages
- Other Applications
Crickets Market, by End Use
- Human Consumption
- Animal Nutrition
- Other End Uses
Crickets Market, by Geography
- Asia-Pacific (APAC)
- South Korea
- Rest of Asia-Pacific (RoAPAC)
- Rest of Europe (RoE)
- North America
- Latin America
- Middle East & Africa