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Why Is Cricket Protein More Expensive? 4 Reasons

Updated: Jan 16

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You’ve probably already heard of cricket protein. While it sounds very new to most of us, it's gaining serious attention for good reasons.

Indeed, crickets, along with other insects, are stepping up as a sustainable and nutritious alternative to traditional protein sources, and people are taking notice.

With their jam-packed protein content, essential amino acids, and low environmental impact, cricket protein has the potential to shake up the way we think about food. While cricket protein boasts many benefits, an important barrier is yet to be overcome: the price of cricket protein.

In this article, we will explore the key factors contributing to the price of cricket protein.

In a nutshell, the higher price of cricket protein can be attributed to a combination of factors, including limited supply, complex farming practices, processing techniques, and the current scale of the market.

What is cricket protein?

First things first: let us specify what we mean by cricket protein. Cricket protein refers to the protein extracted from crickets. It is obtained by drying and grinding crickets into a fine powder. This powder is then used as an ingredient for a range of products, including:

  • Snacks

  • Protein powder

  • Protein bars

  • Burger patties

  • Pasta

So why the hype? Well: cricket protein packs a punch when it comes to nutrition. It's not just loaded with protein, but it's also chock-full of essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats.

What's more, cricket protein is low in carbohydrates, making it a great option for people with different dietary preferences and restrictions. It's truly a powerhouse of goodness that can give you the nutrients you need while keeping your carb intake in check.

While cricket protein may still be considered a niche product in many parts of the world, its popularity is steadily growing as people recognize its potential as a sustainable and nutritious protein source.

Despite its many advantages, cricket protein is still facing a few hurdles. One of these hurdles is its price compared to other sources of protein. Let us dive into the reasons for these high prices.

4 main reasons why cricket protein is expensive

cricket flour

1. Market factors and scale

The market for cricket protein is currently relatively niche compared to well-established protein sources meat or soy. The currently limited scale of production and distribution makes cricket protein more expensive than it could be. Indeed, the specialized nature of cricket production makes large-scale production challenging at this stage, contributing to higher costs.

As the market grows and demand increases, economies of scale may come into play, potentially leading to price reductions.

2. Complex farming practices

As already mentioned in the above paragraph, the specificities of cricket farming contribute to the higher production costs. Indeed, crickets have specific environmental requirements, including temperature, humidity, and lighting, which must be carefully maintained. Growing, processing, and harvesting crickets require specialized machinery and manual labour, which can get expensive pretty quickly, especially if you’re operating on a smaller scale (which most cricket farms still are).

In addition, specific safety and hygiene measures need to be followed by insect companies, including regular monitoring and maintenance. These are essential to ensure a contamination-free environment and the development of safe products! The costs associated with these processes contribute to the overall price of cricket protein.

3. Regulations

Cricket farmers have to deal with all sorts of rules and standards to make sure the products we consume are safe and top-notch. Following these regulations means extra expenses for production, processing, packaging, and labelling.

Getting the right certifications and meeting all the regulatory requirements takes some serious cash, which adds to the already higher prices of edible insects.

supermarket aisle

4. Limited distributions channels

Ever seen cricket protein products on your local supermarket shelf? Unlikely at this stage. Even though more people are getting interested in insects as a sustainable source of protein, the distribution system for edible insects is not as advanced as it is for regular food.

Because they're not as easy to get your hands on, the costs of specialized retailers and those fancy niche distribution networks play a part in the higher prices of edible insects.

Will cricket protein be cheaper in the future?

It is quite possible that cricket protein will become cheaper in the future. Here's why:

edible crickets

Research and development

Cricket farming is still relatively new and much work still needs to be done to take it to the next level. Thankfully, investments are being made in the industry. These will contribute to R&D efforts focused on improving cricket farming techniques, optimizing feed formulations, and enhancing processing technologies, in turn contributing to cost reductions.

Increased Competition

As the market for alternative protein sources expands, more players may enter the industry, fostering competition. You might know that competition is great for innovation and progress: it has the potential to drive producers to find innovative ways to lower production costs and offers competitive prices to capture market share, benefiting consumers with more affordable cricket protein options.

Growing demand

Finally, as the demand for alternative protein sources, including cricket protein, continues to rise, economies of scale can come into play. Increased demand associated with larger production volumes can help reduce production costs and, consequently, lower the price of cricket protein.

Wrap up

Simply put, cricket protein comes with a hefty price tag due to the "youth" of the insect industry. Indeed, the relatively novel insect farming processes are to be further optimized and made scalable.

That being said, the future of cricket protein seems bright: as more people seek sustainable protein options, farming techniques are being improved as we speak. Once crickets will be produced on a larger scale, costs may gradually decrease, hopefully making cricket protein affordable for all.

How you can play your part for the moment is by already starting to buy cricket protein if you can afford it. Every purchase of cricket protein products you make also provides support to these companies, working hard to produce more sustainable protein for all.


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