Eating Bugs on Purpose: Challenges and Opportunities in Adapting Insects as a Sustainable Protein


When we think of insects, “yummy” is not generally a top-of-mind descriptor. The emerging industry of edible insects is seeking to change that. Insects raised for human consumption offer a versatile protein source, while requiring fewer natural resources (water, land, and energy) and producing less emissions than other traditional animal protein sources. Yet the edible insect industry faces a number of challenges in overcoming negative associations, gaining acceptance as an alternative protein source, and obtaining wider retail distribution. This case explores the opportunities and dilemmas faced by the edible insect industry from sustainability, innovation, and consumer behavior perspectives, as it endeavors to grow demand for this environmentally beneficial but generally undesired food source. A central question emerges for entrepreneurs: What is the best marketing strategy to increase consumer adoption and maintain competitive advantage in this new food sector?

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