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Author Sarah Kirton
Sarah Kirton
Created on Nov 22nd, 2022
Fact checked by Emma Vince

Global Bugs 2023: Leading the Shift to Alternative Proteins

We chat with Kanitsanan Thanthitiwat, Co-Founder and CEO of Global Bugs to find out more about crickets as an alternative protein source that’s sustainable and high in nutritional value!

What were the motivations behind Global Bugs?

Initially, one of our founders saw a TV documentary on how insects could be used as an alternative source of protein instead of the non-environmentally friendly and non-sustainable proteins such as fish and soy meal. 

There will be nine billion people on the planet by 2050. And we can’t feed them with current protein sources, particularly meat protein. It’s simply not sustainable.

Where/who is your primary target audience?

We sell Entopowder in bulk to businesses and packaged goods directly to consumers.

Asia is our main market as it’s the largest, and by 2030, 65% of the world's middle-income bracket will reside in Asia. They’re looking for safe and clean food. 

However, our demands are set to fulfill the requirements of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for novel food that will be implemented in the EU next year, which will allow us to export to any market globally. The EU and the US are fast-growing markets despite being much smaller than Asia. 

Why crickets and not grasshoppers?

Crickets have much more vitamin B12 than most other insects for human consumption. In fact, the figures speak for themselves: 2.88 µg/100 g for crickets, 0.84 µg/100 g for grasshoppers.

What are the fundamental health benefits of crickets?

  • Crickets help improve the natural bacteria in the gut (microbiome) and reduce inflammation in the body.

  • Crickets contain complete protein and provide all 18 amino acids, including all nine essential amino acids.

  • Crickets contain more B12 than beef and every single cell in our body requires B12 to function properly.

  • Crickets contain a perfect balance of omega 3 and 6, which is essential to our body and very important to our diet.

How are your crickets farmed?

As crickets are farmed for human consumption, we must comply with standards and regulations for food safety. That's why we’ve set our demands according to the EFSA novel food regulations that will be implemented in the EU in 2022. 

We’re also a part of the consortium – Belgium Insect Industry Federation (BIIF) – where we’re just about to send in our dossier to the EFSA for approval of the house cricket for human consumption in the EU.

This means that we’re farming in a closed environment and processing the crickets in a regulated way, just as if we were producing any kind of meat, dairy, or poultry product for human consumption. We follow GHP, GAP, and HACCP regulations where we’re fully certified as well.

Tell us about your flagship products?

For B2B (selling to other businesses) the flagship product is our EntoPowder, which we also use to produce our consumer products such as protein bars, snacks, bakery, and pastry products.

As we control the whole food supply chain from feed to packing, through farming and processing, we guarantee that the quality is always high and stable.

Do you believe there’s a global shift towards alternative protein sources from the customers’ perspective?

Definitely. The younger generation won’t sit back and watch the present world leaders do nothing but talk; they want to see actions and a long-term strategy to reach the Paris agreement. 

Global Bugs is a Thai/Swedish company so Greta is of course a good ambassador for alternative and sustainable proteins.

Would you say that plant-based protein alternatives are your biggest competitor?

No, the demand for alternative protein is so large and the supply isn’t yet there to fulfill the demand, so we see all players in the alternative protein sector as collaborators. We all have the same goal – to leave a sustainable planet for future generations.

When it comes to plant-based products, we see a very good opportunity to mix plant and cricket-based proteins to boost the end product with nutrition content that the plant-based diet can lack, such as protein and vitamin B12. Vegans that eat this way are called “entovegans.” I would call myself flexitarian in that aspect.

What does the future hold for Global Bugs?

Currently, we’re working on finalizing our current round of funding so we can start to build our next generation Ento Farm by 2022, which will produce more than 50 tonnes of EntoPowder per year.

The Ento Farm is scalable and semi-automatic and can be established practically anywhere in the world. However, we will focus on Thailand and offering good job opportunities, especially to women in rural areas. This is also a part of our sustainability strategy surrounding our Four Ps: “Profit, Protein, People, and Planet Positive.”

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