Edible Insects and Your Food Business

Edible insects are everywhere. They’ve taken the food world by storm, appearing in cookbooks, on menus, and in the news. Whether for health or environmental reasons, it seems everyone is talking about eating bugs.

But getting them to buy edible bug products is another thing. While insects are appearing in everything from protein powder to chips, many consumers are still hesitant to purchase. Cue this week’s column on NPR’s The Salt. It cites a study from the Frontiers in Nutrition journal, in which researchers primed subjects to eat insects with a variety of wording. Eaters who were told that insects were delicious, rather than eco-friendly or healthy, were more willing to try the product.

We know consumers care about the environment and wellness. But when it comes to foods that trigger our bodily “disgust” response, those well-meaning feelings may not be enough. It seems that tempting our taste buds goes much farther, as the internal response is stronger.

NPR compares insects to lobster or sushi, two food groups that were considered unpalatable before being introduced to high-class audiences. The edible insect’s day may be due.

Edible insects and your business

No one is more experienced at selling edible insects than Joseph Yoon. As the executive director of Brooklyn Bugs, Yoon travels the country to teach both enthusiasts and skeptics how to cook and eat insects. As Yoon describes in Forbes, there are over 1900 types of edible insects with myriad flavor profiles. Because of this, you can incorporate insects into nearly any dish!

Think it’s time to try insect flavors in your food business? Many retailers, such as EntoMarket or even Amazon, offer bulk insects, ground or whole, for experimentation. These low-cost proteins could be a great way to keep your food product on-trend and environmentally friendly. Just make sure to emphasize how delicious it is – not how healthy.

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