Ever since New Hope editor Todd Runestad wrote about cricket bars in 2013, the edible insect industry has exploded. While in 2014 just one insect protein product exhibited at Expo West (Chapul), now dozens of companies have hatched business plans focused on entomophagy. From cricket chips to mealworm protein to bitters infused with toasted crickets, now swarms of products feature winged, six-legged critters.
“The industry is less than five years old, but it’s astounding how many companies brought products to market and received significant investments,” says Robert Nathan Allen, president of the 2013-founded educational nonprofit Little Herds. Indeed, the edible insect industry is garnering generous support from influential investors. Both Bitty Foods, makers of cricket-protein cookies, and Tiny Farms, a supply company dedicated to scaling insect farming, received investments from Arielle Zuckerburg (Mark Zuckerberg’s sister). And in March, cricket protein bar EXO raised $4 million in its Series A funding round.
But investor interest is just one aspect of the recent tide of bug-focused events, products and initiatives that indicate this industry is primed for growth. Here’s why we think this food trend has true potential.Start slideshow