For what seems like decades, excited environmentalists have been pitching insect-based foods as the next major trend in agriculture. The upsides to insect protein are clear. Producing it requires roughly one-tenth the land of other meat sources, and insect farming is inherently more efficient (think about how big a cow is, and then visualize a mealworm).
So far, environmentalists have been wrong about adoption—clearly, most people aren’t buying bug protein at the supermarket—but this hype cycle seems different. Investors and founders are getting more deeply involved.
Ynsect, a France-based company focused on producing insect proteins for pet and other animal foods, raised a $150 million Series C in February. AgriProtein, another insect protein company, raised $105 million in June of 2018. InnovaFeed, a France-based insect protein company, raised a roughly $43 million round this August.
With a growing population driving up the demand for agriculture, and current agricultural processes contributing to our climate crisis, the resource-friendliness of insect protein stands to have an impact.
As other alternative meat startups have ballooned in revenue—Beyond Meat priced its IPO at $25 and currently trades above $139—it seems like insect protein could be as potent of a market as the alternative meat market we’ve seen explode over the last year.