Insects as an alternative source of protein: exploring the potential for growth of the Thai edible insect industry

  • Pattanapong Tiwasing (Speaker)

Activity: Talk, evidence or presentation typesOral presentation


The global market for edible insects is expanding rapidly as a result of the quest for more sustainable protein sources. Edible insects can enter human food chains directly, in whole or ground powder form, and indirectly as a source of animal feed. Thailand is the world’s largest producer of edible insects, with more
than 20,000 insect producing enterprises generating an average annual output of 7,500 tons, mainly supplying domestic markets (Halloran et al., 2017; Durst and Hanboonsong, 2015). There is potential for the Thai edible insect industry to grow considerably through exports to overseas markets. Based upon collaborative research in Thailand, the UK and the EU, this paper explores the challenges and opportunities confronting the Thai edible insect industry as it seeks to expand its export markets. Internal challenges include the need to develop regulatory processes and systems which ensure compatibility with international
standards and certifications. Externally, there are challenges created within potential markets. Consumer tastes and preferences are one factor but more importantly the status of edible insects as a ‘novel food’ within UK and EU regulatory systems creates complex barriers which must be overcome before edible insects can become a significant component of the mainstream food system. Our paper will evaluate the fast-moving regulatory terrain within the UK and EU and illustrate the steps being undertaken in Thailand to achieve export readiness within these potentially lucrative markets. The research illustrates the
complexities of international trade in ‘novel foods’, in particular the contested role of certifications and standards.
Period31 Aug 20222 Sept 2022
Event titleRoyal Geographical Society (with IBG) Annual International Conference 2022
Event typeConference
LocationNewcastle, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational