As insects bring organic matter to the earth with the decomposition of waste and act as pollinators for the reproduction and dispersal of plants and flowers, they contribute to the biological foundation of the terrestrial ecosystems. They can also be treated as a source of food for multiple animal species, like birds, and amphibians. In fact, insects greatly improve the quality of chicken meat while decreasing production costs.
In this regard, the animal feed insect proteins market will witness significant expansion in the coming years. With the global population witnessing a meteoric rise, food production is playing a profound role. As per the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the rate of food production will rise by 70% for feeding the expanding population, while the meat production for beef, pork, and poultry is expected to double.
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Leading product manufacturers operating in this space are actively turning to inorganic marketing collaborative strategies, including partnerships, and acquisitions for scaled revenue sales. To quote an instance, in May 2021, Cargill, a global commodity company, extended its strategic partnership with InnovaFeed through a commercial contract for bringing sustainable and new feed options to additional segments of the animal nutrition industry.
Penned below are some important types of insects that will characterize the expansion of the animal feed insect proteins industry
Lately, mealworms are widely deployed in animal feed and are largely replacing soybean as they are extremely efficient in converting food into body weight. Small-scale poultry farming is playing a major role as an income source for farmers and poultry products are highly accepted in households as a valuable component of protein in the diets in low-income communities. In effect, mealworms are calling for higher demand as their nutritional profile can be compared to other protein sources that are currently used in poultry feeds, mainly fishmeal.
Crickets are expected to significantly contribute to the animal feed insect proteins market as they are high in multiple nutrients, including fat and are a rich good source of vitamins, minerals, and fibers. A large number of research activities are supporting the demand for these insect-based protein sources. Stating an example, researchers from Saint Louis University (SLU) studied the growth of young pigs on diets that consisted of corn flour and rice bran with cricket flour. It was reported that they digested these diets better compared to the feed with fish flour and showed signs of using more of the digested protein for growth.
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Black Soldier Fly
As black soldier fly larvae have potential as an ingredient for creep feed, milk replacer, and fattening ration in probiotics, it is widely adopted in animal feeds. It is also an important source of high-quality animal protein and feedstocks. Lately, this type of animal feed insect protein is used for substituting soybean meal in creep feed for the post-weaning goat kids barring any differences in weight gain and blood profiles.
In the years to come, the increasing number of R&D investments will play an ideal role in the expansion of the animal feed insect proteins market. To cite an instance, Ynsect, in February 2022, invested close to USD 5 million in breeding beetle larvae among other insects for use in animal feed, and fertilizer. This marked the world’s first large-scale funding initiative in this sector.
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