Our Innovation Analysts recently looked into emerging technologies and up-and-coming startups working on innovative solutions for the food sector. As there is a large number of startups working on a wide variety of solutions, we decided to share our insights with you. This time, we are taking a look at 5 promising edible insect startups.
Heat Map: 5 Top Edible Insect Startups
Using our StartUs Insights Discovery Platform, covering 1.379.000+ startups & scaleups globally, we looked at innovation in the field of food tech. For this research, we identified 123 relevant solutions and picked 5 to showcase below. These companies were chosen based on a data-driven startup scouting approach, taking into account factors such as location, founding year, and relevance of technology, among others. Depending on your specific criteria, the top picks might look entirely different.
The Global Startup Heat Map below highlights 5 startups & scaleups developing innovative edible insect solutions. Moreover, the Heat Map reveals regions that observe a high startup activity and illustrates the geographic distribution of all 123 companies we analyzed for this specific topic.
Grilo Protein – Crickets
Part of the diets of many cultures globally, edible insects are also gaining traction as an alternative and sustainable food source in the West. Insects are easy to rear, are nutrient-dense, and convert feed to a protein more sustainably than poultry or other animal meats. Crickets are one of the most consumed insects, are rich in proteins, and also provide a crunchy and nutty flavor.
Grilo Protein is an Australian startup that offers food products based on dried and ground crickets. The startup sells cricket powders, bars, roasted whole crickets, and seasoning in multiple flavors. In addition to protein, the products are rich in vitamin B12 and iron. The crickets require orders of magnitude lower amounts of water and feed as compared to other meat sources.
Hey Planet – Buffalo Beetles
Food companies are rearing buffalo beetles for use in superfoods as they provide all essential amino acids, as well as minerals like zinc and iron. In addition to the quantity per gram of the minerals being higher than in beef and poultry, its bioavailability is also better in edible insects. Startups offer food products based on beetles as an affordable alternative to help consumers meet their protein needs.
Danish startup Hey Planet produces food products from edible insects, including buffalo beetles and crickets. The startup sells a buffalo beetle powder that is for use as a supplement or to mix in other recipes. The startup’s portfolio also includes protein bars and other snacks made from dried and ground buffalo beetles.
Entis – Insect Protein
Edible insects contain large amounts of proteins per gram, with levels as high as 50-70 % in some insects. Unlike other meat sources, they also provide significant amounts of essential amino acids. Insect food tech startups are rearing different species as rich sources of protein to offer alternatives to meat and protein supplements.
Entis is a Finnish food startup that develops protein-rich products from crickets. The Protein Power is a milk-free, gluten-free, and soy-free product that combines insect proteins and plant-based proteins. In addition to vitamin B12 and iron, the chocolate-flavored insect protein product also contains zinc and dietary fibers.
Wilder Harrier – Animal Feed
Even in countries where the adoption of edible insects as human food is low, their use in animal feed offers a value proposition. This includes both uses in commercial units like poultry and pets. Evolutionarily, chicken, cats, and dogs have hunted insects, so it also comes naturally to them. For dogs and cats, insect flour offers a superfood alternative that is highly digestible as well.
Canadian startup Wilder Harrier produces human-grade pet food from insects. The startup’s products use black soldier flies sourced from farms, microalgae, yeast extract, and other plant-based ingredients. The farmed insects recipe contains 25% protein by weight.
BeoBia – Insect-Based Food Production
Due to the small spaces required for their cultivation, insect farming fits well with the goals of urban or indoor agriculture. This also offers a new approach to biological waste management, since many consumers already make their own compost at home. Startups are working on kits that make rearing edible insects affordable and accessible for users.
BeoBia develops a solution for insect-based food production at home. The startup provides Re_, an insect growing pod, to grow mealworms that feed on oats or vegetable waste. The pod includes a stack of trays to incubate mealworm larvae, which are ready to harvest in 10-15 weeks. BeoBia’s solution helps users reduce their carbon footprint and put their food waste to good use.
What About The Other 118 Solutions?
While we believe data is key to creating insights it can be easy to be overwhelmed by it. Our ambition is to create a comprehensive overview and provide actionable innovation intelligence and enable you to achieve your goals faster. The 5 edible insect startups showcased above are promising examples out of 123 we analyzed for this article. To identify the most relevant solutions based on your specific criteria, get in touch.