The demand for insect protein, mainly as an animal feed and pet food ingredient, could reach half a million mt by 2030, up from today’s market of approximately 10 thousand mt, a Rabobank report says.
Dutch agricultural market specialist Rabobank expects global demand for insect proteins could reach 500 thousand tons annually by 2030. This amount is fifty times higher than the 10 thousand tons produced in 2020. The report says after reaching half a million metric tons, it will get easier for the industry to expand supply.
While the sustainability aspects and functional benefits support demand growth, high costs and prices, the current limited production capacity, and legislation are the main factors limiting growth of insect protein.
However, Rabobank foresees that that the industry will skyrocket in the next decade and the aqua feed market is expected to show the greatest potential. “Beyond inclusion in aqua feed formulas, a range of R&D-driven opportunities will create additional areas of future success for this new industry,” the report states.
Although the report predicts pet food and poultry markets will grow at a slower pace, there is still room for expansion.
INSECT PROTEIN FOR PET FOOD TO ACCOUNT FOR 40%
The report indicates the market for insect protein as a pet food ingredient is expected to reach 150 thousand metric tons globally by 2030. This will account for 40% of the expected insect market size at that time. Despite this, insects are still forecast to account for less than 1% of the overall aqua feed market. At present insect consumption in the aqua feed market is only a few thousand tons per year.
“The egg market allows for differentiated concepts and categories, such as free range, organic, omega-3 added, etc., which gives space to market insect-fed eggs. We believe the potential is more limited for broilers, due to the high price point of insects compared to soybean meal,” the report points.
In poultry feed, the largest potential lies in layer hens and is more limited for broilers because of the high price point of insects compared to soybean meal. According to the report, the egg market allows for differentiated concepts and categories, such as free range, organic, omega-3 added, etc., which gives space to market insect-fed eggs.
Rabobank believes the swine market is the smallest addressable market for insect protein due to market dynamics and insect protein price compared to soy.
SECTOR MAY GROW EVEN FASTER AFTER 2030
“After reaching half a million metric tons (by 2030), it will get easier for the industry to expand supply. From that point on, it will take much less time to double or even quadruple production volume and exceed one million metric tons.”
Finally, the report highlights that continued research and development, as well as wide-scale education could even lead to the development of specialized insect ingredients and products with applications beyond feed and food, but that considerable innovation and investment will be needed to reach that point.