Bug Protein the Next Trend in Nutritional Supplements, but Only if America is Ready for it
An industry doesn’t achieve annual global sales of $50.0 billion by remaining stagnant; it continues to evolve and grow, and with that evolution comes opportunity. The dietary and nutritional markets are no different and the continuous development of new products is one of the main factors that spearheads this industry to enormously high revenues with no signs of slowing down.
With what seems like a daily output of new dietary products for consumers, marketers need to mine the field to determine which of the products are bigger than a single purchase and can possibly be a game changer. And right now, the one product poised to impact the industry in a big way is bug protein.
Yes, We Said Bugs
It’s probably something that would benefit from a name change, if for no other reason than to help North American consumers wrap their minds around the fact that bugs are at the core of what can be the next big trend in the supplement market. A recent study by Lux, in fact, has the insect market accounting for approximately 50% of the alternative supplement market over the next 30 years.
Right now, bug protein is already infused in many food and beverage products, including peanut butter and beer. But with these products, the public is largely unaware of the insects’ presence. Marketing nutritional supplements doesn’t allow for this type of discretion, so the primary struggle over the next decade or so will be to change the attitude of a culture regarding the stigma of eating insects.
Athletes Ahead of the Trend
It comes as no surprise that athletes are once again ahead of the trend when it comes to nutritional supplements. The creatine and whey protein surge began with athletes, bodybuilders in particular, before making its way onto the shelves of health-conscious consumers. And as athletes are now looking for a clean protein to help with their training, bugs seem to be the best ingredient.
Gross factor aside, research has shown that bugs carry even more calcium than milk and more iron than beef. And because they contain a complete profile of amino acids, mixing with other protein products is not necessary, not to mention bugs take considerably less processing than whey or soy protein. One other consideration that deserves mentioning is that insects are not just found at random; they are farm-raised and treated with the same level of care and under the same guidelines as livestock.
What’s Happening Right Now
North America currently uses crickets, grasshoppers, silkworms, and mealworms, as these are typically the most domestic species. That said, caterpillars and beetles are not far behind, possibly catching up once the culture starts opening up to the idea of ingesting insects.
Marketers may have a difficult road ahead, but the health and nutritional benefits of insects are too good to pass up. Macromark is confident in its ability to take the lead on helping companies launch direct marketing campaigns geared towards these products with the same principles we’ve been successful with in all of our marketing efforts.
Myers, S. “Insects for Athletes: The Buzz on Bug Protein,” NaturalProductsInsider.com, March 16, 2015; http://www.naturalproductsinsider.com/blogs/sports-nutrition/2015/03/insects-for-athletes-the-buzz-on-bug-protein.aspx.
Makholwa, A., “Nutritional supplement industry booming,” Rand Daily Mail web site, March 3, 2015; http://www.rdm.co.za/business/2015/03/03/nutritional-supplement-industry-booming.