EMAILED ON November 28, 2019 BY Steph Smith

Excuse me, Miss. There’s a bug in my drink

Remember when lobster was poor man’s food? Since none of us lived in the mid-19th century, the answer is no. But, some 200 years later, as we prepare for a population of nearly 10B, people are opening their minds (and mouths) to new possibilities: edible insects.

Insect snacking goes beyond the cockroach street stall in Bangkok. It’s estimated that up to 80% of people around the world already eat these not-so-creepy crawlies.

Why? When you really boil it down, crickets have:

  • An environmental impact that would make Greta Thunberg sing. We’re talking 1% of the greenhouse gases that beef produces.
  • A nutritional profile designed by the gods: amino acids, packed with more protein, calcium, iron, fiber, and magnesium than a steak could ever dream of.
  • An upside that has entrepreneurs licking their chops, with growth of insect protein expected to 10X in the next decade.

So what’s stopping us all from hopping on the six-legged train?

The yuck factor, for one. Companies get the stigma — and while they work to change it, they’ve also focused on products that are, umm, more digestible. From bug burgers to cricket-flour pancakes, people are searching for ways to embrace the trend, but mask the ick.

Will more people risk it for the cricket?

The jury’s still out, but some restaurants, investors, and grocery conglomerates are placing their bets:

  • Restaurants like Linger (in Denver) are serving up Thai Sausage Mi Krop incorporating black ants and crickets. El Catrin (in Toronto) lets you add crickets to your guac.
  • Ÿnsect — a French insect-farming startup — raised their Series C at $125m.
  • Entomo Farms raised their Series A directly from Maple Leaf Foods.
  • Grocery conglomerates are saying “crawl on in,” with Eat Grub (UK) finding its way into 400 SOK stores, while Jimini (France) managed to score 300 Carrefour stores.

Who else wants a taste?

Your furry friends aren’t turning their noses. The $442B animal feed market is open to some insect-based disruption, with bigwigs like Nestle Purina starting to experiment with crickets.

So whether for man or man’s best friend, it looks like it might be a Bug’s Life after all.