Insects for food consumption: how to choose them, where to find them and at what price?

You would like to discover products that are out of the ordinary? Would you like to taste preparations made from crickets, locusts, larvae or cockroaches? The way in which insects are raised and their nutritional quality make you want to diversify your diet? So think of the edible insect seller!

On an online store, in organic stores or in nature-oriented shops, insects for human consumption come in a variety of formats and at all prices, which vary depending on the packaging, the rate of processing and producers. Discover our tips for finding edible insect foods at the best price, without compromising on the quality of the product.

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Edible insects: food to eat in a multitude of forms

Nature or in the form of prepared products, edible insects are today ingredients that can be easily integrated into our shopping list, as we find different species and packaging adapted to all occasions.

The most popular formats of insect-based products are “discovery” boxes of 10 to 20 grams of crickets, grasshoppers, worms and other locusts. They are ideal for entomophagy in a fun way and are composed of insects ready to eat. We will appreciate them especially as an aperitif or as a gift box for an original and delicious gift.

You can also buy bags with a larger capacity, usually between 25 grams and 1 kilo, and even in bulk for a purchase that perfectly matches your needs. Plain or flavored with herbs, spices or vegetables (curry, recipes with Thai, basil, paprika, etc.) these insects can be eaten as an aperitif or be used in many recipes. You will find edible insects already dehydrated and others that you can fully cook yourself.

But that’s not all ! Brands often offer insect-based preparations that can be eaten at any time of the day. Because of their high protein content, insects are used to make energy bars, but they can also be used in treats or for making cakes and other treats with insect meal.

You can also buy this flour (or insect powder) to make homemade cakes, bread, biscuits for an aperitif, smoothies enriched with proteins, etc. To partially substitute other flours or to add in certain preparations, it will indeed bring you many complementary nutrients and a small original flavor!

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Fried insects on the streets of Khao San Road in Bangkok, Thailand

Where can we get edible insects?

As entomophagy develops at a high speed for both human and animal nutrition, it becomes easy to find in physical shops or from brands and resellers on the Internet. Even supermarkets and hypermarkets are positioning themselves in this booming market: you will not have any trouble finding edible insects!

However, it is better to turn to shops and specialized websites. They will first have a more varied choice of products, where the big brands will often be content to sell crickets, grasshoppers and mealworms. If you are looking for more exotic and a varied diet based on insects, it will therefore rather turn to online shops.
In addition, sites specializing in the sale of edible insects often have their own production business. You thus benefit from a real traceability on the sold products and generally of a good expertise to buy insects of quality.

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A street vendor sells edible insects at a street stall at a night market in Chiang Mai Thailand

How much does it cost to feed on insects?

The price of edible insects depends on several variables: the type of breeding they come from, their diet, their country of origin, the margin of the reseller, the packaging, the rate of transformation, the length of the distribution circuit, and of course case. You will find insects at all rates (sometimes ranging from one to three) and it will take time to compare the offers if you want the best value for money. However, we can determine average prices, some of which are examples, for the best-selling natural edible insects:

Count between 5 and 7 € for a pack of 25 grams of crickets or locusts and between 50 € and 100 € for a bag of one kilo.
Silkworms are sold for between € 4.5 and € 9 per box of 25 grams.
The flour worm is sold between 4.5 and 7.5 € 25 grams, and around 80 € for a bag of one kilo.
For grasshoppers, the 25-gram box is priced at around € 5 and available from around € 90 for a kilo.
The black ants are a little more expensive, with a price of between 6 and 8 € the 10 grams.
In the case of insect meal, prices also vary considerably depending on the reseller and the composition of the product (more or less protein for example). It will cost between 10 and 40 € for 100 grams of crickets meal or locusts.
If you want to save money on your purchase of insects, opt for plain products to cook yourself, because flavored or cooked insects are often more expensive, although more practical and more fun for the aperitif by the way! Similarly, if you are already a fan of entomophagy and you love insects, do not hesitate to build a stock by choosing larger packages, which are cheaper per kilo.

How to make sure to buy quality insects?

The consumption of insects is mostly safe for health and often very beneficial thanks to the many proteins and good fats they contain. However, we must remain attentive to certain points before choosing your insects, to avoid ingesting harmful substances and being subject to allergies.

One of the first essential elements is the verification of the existence of controls. Just as for the breeding of any other animals, there are indeed laboratories specialized in the control of the quality and the hygiene on the sites of production of insects. Regulations are still relatively vague on some aspects of this crop, but agri-food principles and precaution apply to insect-producing companies. Therefore, prefer resellers who offer products that have been tested internally, but also by independent organizations, to ensure that the insects are safe to eat and safe to eat.

Also, learn about the diet provided to these insects when they come from breeding and the conditions of production. Indeed, depending on what they eat, they will contain more or less protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. There are even organic farms that guarantee a diet without pesticides or other products that are potentially harmful to our health and the environment.
Edible insects will also be better for taste and health if they are raised in conditions as close as possible to those found in their natural state. For example, locusts, crickets, worms, ants and other cicadas that will be fed exclusively on flour and grow under artificial light will be of lesser quality. On the other hand, insects that can feed on quality natural animal and vegetable matter, and which are grown under natural conditions of light and moisture conducive to their well-being and development, will be much more enjoyable to eat and eat. will bring more benefits to our organization.

Finally, you can look at where the edible insects you buy come from. Unlike many other consumer products for which Asia is not renowned for its quality, it is a part of the world that has many years of expertise in the breeding and consumption of insects. That’s why you will find quality insects from countries like Thailand, India or Vietnam, but also from South America and Africa. If you are nevertheless a fervent defender of French and / or European breeding, know that there are also quality production farms in France and in neighboring countries for a few years.

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