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Start-Up Companies Using Insect Protein to Overcome Consumer Doubts

Start-Up Companies Using Insect Protein to Overcome Consumer Doubts alternative protein, alternative proteins, cricket protein, Diet and health, Health and nutritional ingredients, Healthy foods, Insect protein, Insects, Market Trends, Proteins, Start-ups and disruptors, Sustainability, Transparency and supply chain Food and Beverage Business

The food and beverage industry is showing a growing consensus on the need to diversify protein sources, with many turning to plant-based and insect proteins. In fact, there are signs that a ‘protein transition’ is underway. According to some, this transition reflects a shift towards entirely plant-based protein diets, while others see it as an embrace of insect proteins as a suitable alternative.

Insect proteins are gaining traction thanks to their environmental benefits over cattle. The World Economic Forum (WEF) reported that insect farming requires lower levels of land and water use, and a 2010 study suggested that insects are connected to only around 1% of the greenhouse gas emissions compared to that of ruminants. Furthermore, insects are often very high in protein, with crickets containing nearly three times the protein content of beef.

However, consumers have been hesitant to embrace insect protein due to feelings of disgust and food neophobia. Research has shown that encouraging consumption requires familiarity with the product; consumers who are more familiar with insect proteins are more likely to give them a try.

Despite these challenges, start-ups marketing insect proteins are finding ways to combat perceptions and persuade consumers of their value. Educating consumers about the health benefits and efficiency of insect consumption has been a key strategy for companies like Ÿnsect in France and Essento in Switzerland.

Although introducing insect proteins as a food source has had some resistance in the Western market, Ÿnsect argues that cultural adaptation and familiarity will play pivotal roles in overcoming consumer reluctance. Similarly, Essento has seen a decline in consumer reluctance over time, with the taste and familiar forms of products with processed insects proving to be easier to adopt.

Insect proteins also offer advantages over plant-based alternatives. While plant-based meats have their own benefits, such as being suitable for vegetarian and vegan diets, insect proteins have been described as “the best of both worlds,” blending sustainability with nutrition. They contain essential amino acids and have a lower environmental impact, making them an attractive solution for sustainable food chains.

The food and beverage industry is at a turning point, with a major shift towards alternative protein sources. Companies are not only innovating in product development but also striving to address consumer perceptions while promoting sustainable and nutritious options.

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