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Asia want to lead Insect Production Revolution


Southeast Asia is rapidly emerging as the global leader in insect production for feed, thanks to favorable climate conditions and lower labor costs. The Asian Food and Feed Insect Association (AFFIA), a non-profit organization, is at the forefront of this transformation, representing industry and academic stakeholders involved in the insect-based food and feed sector.




 

According to AFFIA's latest survey, 90% of farmed insects for feed applications in Asia are black soldier flies. With members from Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Singapore, the region has become a hotspot for insect farming. Notably, 55% of producers consider themselves beyond the pilot stage, with many starting operations as recently as 2019.


The production scale varies, with the majority producing under 1,000 tonnes per year. Products range from whole insect meal to insect oil and frass fertilizer. Thailand and Singapore stand out as major centers of this industry, with Thailand historically leading in cricket farming and Singapore hosting numerous company headquarters.

The potential market for insect protein in Asia is vast, estimated at 19.3 million tonnes. This includes applications in aquaculture, poultry, swine feed, and pet food. AFFIA President Nick Piggott highlighted the complementary nature of food and feed markets for insect-based products, with human food focusing on niche markets and nutritional supplements, while animal feed leverages the nutritional benefits of insect protein.


Pet food and aquafeed sectors are key consumers of insect-based products. The pet food industry, driven by demand for sustainable and hypoallergenic ingredients, currently absorbs more insect meal due to fewer regulatory hurdles and higher willingness to pay for premium products. In contrast, the aquafeed sector, although growing, faces more stringent regulations and requires larger volumes at competitive prices.

Recent EU approvals for imports of insect-based products from Asia mark a significant advance for the region. Asian producers offer cost advantages and potentially better sustainability metrics due to lower energy requirements for tropical insect farming. This positions Asia as a key player in the global insect protein market.

Technological and nutritional advancements are also driving efficiency in insect production. AFFIA's upcoming 2024 Insect to Feed the World conference in Singapore will be a premier event, bringing together global researchers and industry professionals to discuss innovations and future trends in insect feed.

For companies in the aquafeed sector, this conference offers invaluable insights into the benefits of insect protein, regulatory updates, and opportunities for strategic partnerships. By attending, businesses can enhance their sustainability efforts and market position through innovative practices.


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