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    PREDICTIONS

    Will Eating Insects be tiny or huge by 2030?

    Meet Lauren Keegan, Chief Executive of the insect food startup, Entomo. She is on a mission to bring the benefits of insect food to humans.

    And meet Doug Brown, a fitness instructor who uses protein supplements.

    In this article, I predict how huge Eating Insects will be by 2030 on a scale of 1 to 10 based on looking at:

    • The technology needed
    • The companies making it happen
    • What's to love
    • jobs that will be hired.

    Technology

    Eating insects will be huge if the three major technology challenges are solved.

    Growing insects

    Growing insects for food will be "Solved". Lauren produces various forms of cricket-based foods from tropical house crickets. Crickets are the insects of choice because they are nutritious and cheap to grow.
    She uses Cricket Condos, plastic containers divided into sections to appear like small condos arranged horizontally and vertically in a big room.
    The condos allow the crickets to breed and live freely in a way as close as possible to how they would live in their natural world. She installs slim containers filled with peat moss and damp soil in a nursery for the female crickets to lay eggs on.
    The eggs are incubated for 7 to 10 days before they hatch into pinhead crickets.
    10 to 15 million crickets consume about 1000 pounds of plants and meat-based feed a day, including worms. She harvests about 50 million crickets a week at the end of their 8 to 10 week life cycle. Aspire, another insect food startup uses a similar approach but applies smart farming methods to grow their insects, whilst Lauren's method is currently more manual. These include the use of robots, sensor technology, and internet-of-things to capture real-time data during the whole process from hatch-to-b.atch Chapul is also a startup.   It grows crickets in a similar way to Lauren.

    Package Insects

    Technology to package insect food by 2030 is solved. Lauren packages the insect food as starter packs, whole, and also as processed protein powder. Whole crickets come as roasted or flavoured that work well as snacks. Protein powder or flour can be packaged as a protein supplement or ingredient flavour and nutrient to add to a recipe. Aspire also packages whole crickets and processed cricket protein powder. Chapul, on the other hand, packages cricket flour only.

    Make tasty

    The technology needed to make insect food tasty is maybe solved. To eat the crickets whole, people have them either roasted or fried. I haven't tasted them myself but the roasted crickets are said to be crunchy and have a smoky BBQ flavour. Sounds yummy!
    And cricket powder or cricket flour has used an additive in recipes including blending baking, or whatever you choose. And it's added to protein shakes, smoothies, and pasta sauces as a protein boost.

    Companies

    Eating insects will be huge if there are unicorns -  startup companies that have a valuation of more than a billion dollars and when there's plenty of big established companies.

    Entomo

    Lauren's company, Entomo may one day be a unicorn. It was founded in 2014 by 3 brothers who grew up in South Africa. They currently have the largest insect farm for human consumption in North America with more than 60,000 square feet of production space.

    Aspire

    Aspire is also on its way to becoming a unicorn. A team of students from McGill University founded it in 2013 after becoming finalists in the Hult Prize competition.. Its CEO Mohammed Ashour was selected as a Forbes 30 under 30 for Social Enterprise. It has operations in countries including Canada, Ghana and Mexico. and is currently building the world's largest cricket farm in Canada, measuring 12 acres.

    Chapul

    Chapul is also an aspiring unicorn. It focuses on making cricket powder for food products. In 2013, the firm secured $50,000 for a 10 percent stake on a deal with Mark Cuban on NBC’s Shark Tank.

    Multinational companies are active including Bühler Group and Nestlé Purina.

    Supporting Startups
    They're supporting insect food startups. Bühler Group invested 45 million Euros in
    Protix, an insect food startup, creating insect protein for animals as well as humans.

    Experimenting

    And the companies are experimenting. Nestlé Purina is experimenting with a new line of dog food that contains cricket protein.

    Love

    Now we look at Love.  Eating insects will be huge if they attract plenty of 5-star ratings and a few 1 stars.

    Healthy

    5 stars for being healthy. I wasn't convinced to start with but there are some real health benefits. Crickets have 2 times more protein than beef and 4 times more iron than spinach. And insect food can combat obesity and malnutrition.

    Environmentally friendly

    5 stars for being environmentally friendly. Compared to other forms of farming, insect farming and processing produces less greenhouse gas emissions.
    Cricket farming produces 75 per cent less CO2 than chicken farming and uses 50% less water. Insects produce less waste, because their excrement, known as frass,
    can be used as soil amender and fertilizer. And Unlike livestock production that requires lots of lands, insect farming can be done in a small area.

    Affordable

    For affordability, eating insects scores 3 stars. Even though the cost of production is low, insect food is quite expensive compared to other protein sources like meat and chicken. This is because you’re supporting a new industry while paying for a new experience. A quarter pound packet of Whole Roasted crickets
    costs $14. As demand grows, the price is likely to come down further.

    Sounding delicious

    Sounding delicious scores only 2 stars. Although eating insects such as roasted crickets is full of healthy nutrients, to most people including me, it really doesn't sound that delicious.
    There's no doubt though that some people love them.
    But with good flavouring and inclusion in flour form in tasty recipes, it can be a lot more enticing.  Even to me.

    Jobs

    If insect food is going to be huge there will be lots of jobs hired and fired.

    There's no firing

    On the hired side, Lauren's Entomo team has no job vacancies listed on LinkedIn at the time of recording.

    The insect food sector is growing though. Entomo is headquartered in Canada. Currently the jobs are focused in North America. Aspire and Chapul are in the US. If this sector excites you, then set up job alerts on Linkedin for the insect food companies. Jobs in sectors like this are often more exciting and secure than in older sectors. Helping you make good career decisions is a big reason why I'm doing this Life in 2030 channel..

    Because there's no jobs being hired and fired, from a Jobs point of view, eating insects is at the lower end of the scale.

    Prediction

    Now we've covered all four sections, it's time to make a prediction.

    The technology needed is mostly solved

    There are no unicorns today.

    It gets an overall 3 stars rating

    And there aren't many jobs being hired

    On a scale of 1 to 10, eating insects is at the lower end of the scale by 2030 at a 4.

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