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Essentia launches highly nutritious and eco-friendly protein made from crickets

Published: 22 Sep 2022

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The global food system is under extreme pressure – not only because there will be more mouths to feed, but also because agricultural yields are challenged due to the effects of global warming. Since edible insects are calorie-dense and highly nutritious, their consumption has the potential to reduce famine worldwide. Essentia Protein Solutions is taking one small step towards securing future food supplies through its global launch of an edible cricket protein powder, targeting all sorts of protein-enriched foods, snacks, and supplements. 

Understanding how the world population could evolve plays a key role when implementing strategies for the future consumption of food. If UN predictions are to be believed, the world population will grow to 9.7 billion by 2050 and eventually reach almost 11 billion by the shift of the century. 

The increasing population will place further strain on land and require us to at least double agricultural acres by the year 2050, however production of crops is already restrained due to the limitation of suitable land. 

Crickets contain high quality protein, vitamins, and an appropriate amount of all 9 essential amino acids critical for natural metabolism in the human body. Cricket protein is readily absorbable and is suggested to be 50% more digestible than whey protein. Essentia will launch its cricket protein under the Omni™ brand, thus making it part of the existing nutritional ingredient range, along with collagen peptides and bone broth powders. 

Compelling combination of nutritional and environmental benefits 
Cricket production has a much lower impact on the environment when compared with other sources of protein including lower emissions of greenhouse gases, less need for land, more rational use of energy, and reduced need for water.  

Richard Parnell – VP Business & New Market Development at Essentia explains the main reasons behind Essentia’s entry into the business of edible cricket protein: “Cricket protein is by definition, a sustainable food system as it guarantees safe and nutritious food for humans, with the smallest possible ecological footprint. Essentia is a global leader in animal-based protein solutions and has been so for decades. Through this launch we want to take responsibility by offering a new sustainable food source – even if we are starting small”. 

Success is all about acceptance

Essentia will launch its Thai-origin cricket protein powder globally and is fully aware that acceptance of insects in food varies a lot from one culture to another. 

“In some markets – especially in Europe – cricket protein or other insect-based products are not readily accepted because consumers find them unappealing. We are very aware that this may make it difficult to penetrate certain markets, however there is already evidence that perceptions are changing due to a surge in the demand for sustainable food. The protein powder from crickets has almost no taste and is easy to incorporate in all sorts of powder mixes, baked goods, and nutritional bars. It is essentially flour, that just happens to be rich in protein, minerals, and vitamins. We are going to publish an assortment of exiting recipes, to provide sufficient inspiration to those of our customers who want to explore this promising new ingredient”, says Richard Parnell. 

Crickets - a worldwide business 

It is still early days for cricket protein in Europe and North America despite billions of people eating insects in many other regions of the world. The highly competitive nutritional profile of cricket protein is, however already showing strong signs of acceptance from the sports nutrition industry, as athletes and fitness enthusiasts are constantly seeking new efficient supplements that can help enhance their performance and recovery. 

Essentia will be representing Thai Ento Food Co., Ltd.  – a Thai producer of sustainable high grade cricket protein for use in quality human applications. The two companies have joined forces to expand the research and market potential of cricket protein. The partnership was sealed at a signing ceremony in Bangkok in July this year, where the brand-new processing facility was presented. 

Thailand has been a true pioneer in the field of rearing and commercializing insects for human consumption for a long time. There are now more than 20,000 cricket farms, which are mainly located in the northeastern region of the country. While crunchy insect delicacies may still be niche in Thailand, cricket protein powder has taken off in larger volumes, as it is easy to integrate into so many different foods especially baked goods. 

Essentia’s new cricket protein will not be available for sale in North America, however opportunities will be investigated further down the road. 

First batch of Essentia’s cricket protein powder will hit the market in January 2023. 

Further information: 
Please contact: Irene Plats – Global Marketing Director //