Last updated: August 23, 2021

Our method

14Products analysed

16Hours spent

8Evaluated articles

66User reviews

Are you looking for an alternative to your current protein sources? You want to integrate rich proteins into your diet? Then insect protein may be a suitable nutrient for you. If you want to learn more about the topic and are curious if insect protein is for you, stay tuned.

In our insect protein test 2021 we have taken a close look at insect protein products and compared them with each other. We will explain exactly what insect protein is all about and give you the information you need to compare and evaluate insect protein products. We hope you enjoy reading.




Summary

  • Insect protein is a rather unknown nutrient in western countries, which is why there are hardly any foods that contain insect protein.
  • Insect protein is very rich in content and therefore particularly popular with people who exercise.
  • Insect protein can trigger allergic reactions, which is why tolerance should be clarified before consumption.

The Best Insect Protein: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying insect protein

In the following sections we would like to inform you in detail about the topic of insect protein and go into the current state of knowledge about insect protein.

What is insect protein anyway?

Strictly speaking, insect protein is the protein contained in insects, whereby it is animal protein and not vegetable protein (1). So as soon as you see a product that consists of insect protein, among other things, then this product contains animal protein that is extracted from insects.

The interesting thing about insect protein is not the protein itself, but the high protein content of insects (2). This makes it possible to cover the human daily protein requirement with a relatively small amount of insects.

What does the production of insect protein look like?

When we talk about the production of insect protein, we are referring to the process from the insect to the finished product. This process requires, above all, a lot of insects. These are partly collected in the wild, but also bred in designated laboratories.

Nevertheless, there are dried insects as snacks that retain their actual shape.

Since the European population's acceptance of the consumption of insects is still very low, they are further processed so that the actual shape of the insect is lost (3). For this purpose, the insects are ground and either sold in the form of powder or processed with other ingredients to make burgers and protein bars, for example.

Who is insect protein suitable for?

In principle, insect protein is suitable and well tolerated by both humans and animals. It provides valuable amino acids and is essential for building muscle (4), which is why athletes can also benefit significantly from insect protein. However, you should be aware that allergic reactions can occur if you consume insect protein (5).

It is therefore advisable to make sure that you have no health concerns before adding insect protein to your diet.

What is the biological value of insect protein?

The biological value is an indicator of how well a protein can be absorbed by the human body. Since insect protein is an animal protein (1), it is worth taking a look at the biological value of animal protein.

Thus, animal protein has a higher biological value compared to vegetable protein, whereby it must be taken into account that not every animal protein has the same biological value (6). Basically, insect protein as an animal protein has a high biological value and can be well absorbed by the human body.

What does insect protein cost?

Insect protein is available in different forms and quantities, so prices can vary. We have prepared a table to give you a better idea of the prices for insect protein.

Insect protein quantity price
Powder 100 g approx. 5 GBP
Flour 100 g approx. 3 - 10 GBP
Bars 100 g approx. 5 - 10 GBP
Dried/roasted insects 100 g approx. 10 - 70 GBP

As you can see, dried and roasted insects can be significantly more expensive, which is also due to the more complex production process. The other products that contain insect protein do not have a large price difference, although the actual amount of insect protein contained may differ. The grams given are therefore only related to the product itself and not to the pure insect protein.

Decision: What types of insect protein are there and which one is right for you?

In the following sections, we will discuss the different types of products that contain insect protein. We will tell you the advantages and disadvantages of each, so that you can weigh up in which form you would prefer to consume insect protein.

Insektenprotein-2

Insects may be small, but they are rich in protein. That's why they are increasingly used in sports nutrition.
(Image source: pixabay.com / Monofocus)

Insect protein bars

Insect protein bars usually consist not only of insect protein, but contain other ingredients and protein sources. For example, insect bars contain oatmeal, dates, sultanas, nuts, sugar and other energy sources. Flavourings are also used.

Advantages
  • High protein content
  • Suitable for direct consumption
  • Sustainable animal protein
Disadvantages
  • Not pure insect protein
  • Relatively expensive
  • Allergic reaction possible

So, strictly speaking, an insect bar is a protein bar that contains, among other things, insect protein. However, this does not mean that the proportion of insect protein is negligible. So if you are looking for an alternative to conventional protein bars, but you don't want to do without animal proteins, then an insect bar could be suitable for you.

Insect protein powder

Insect protein powder is also only partly made of insect protein. Other protein sources, flavourings and sweeteners are also part of insect protein powder. Basically, such a protein powder can be used like any other protein powder and dissolved in water or similar liquids.

Advantages
  • High protein content
  • Good biological value
  • Sustainable animal protein
Disadvantages
  • Not pure insect protein
  • Relatively expensive
  • Allergic reaction possible

As with insect protein bars, the high protein content is an advantage. However, you should bear in mind that insect protein powder is relatively expensive. If you are looking for an alternative to conventional protein powder, insect protein powder can be a good choice for you. Note, however, that insect-related allergies may occur.

Insect flour

Insect flour, unlike the previously mentioned types of products, is made entirely from insects. Although no other protein sources are included, insect meal can have a high protein content. This can vary, however, as it also depends on the insects used and their protein content.

Advantages
  • Pure insect protein
  • High protein content
  • Good biological value
Disadvantages
  • Relatively expensive
  • Allergic reaction possible

The insect flour is also suitable for baking and can thus enhance your chosen pastry with the necessary portion of protein. However, you should not overdo it with the amount of insect flour, as it is relatively expensive. Again, don't forget to check if you have any allergies to insects.

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate insect protein

To make it easier for you to make a decision, we have selected factors that you can use to evaluate and compare the various insect protein products. These are as follows:

In the following sections we would like to explain to you exactly what is important in the respective factors. This will give you a better understanding of the relevance of each factor.

Ingredients

The ingredients can give you information about the percentage of insect protein. For example, some products that advertise insect protein also contain other sources of protein. You can also tell from the ingredients to what extent flavour enhancers have been used and whether they are of natural origin.

In addition, the ingredients are usually labelled with quantities so that you can understand the composition of the insect protein product. In the next section we will explain why the composition should also be included in your rating.

Composition

The composition determines the proportion of each ingredient. You can see from the composition how high the percentage of insect protein, sugar, salt and other ingredients is. This allows you to determine whether the chosen insect protein product actually delivers what it promises.

Type of insect used

The type of insect used is another factor you can use to evaluate and compare insect protein. There is not only one type of insect that is suitable for insect protein products (2). In principle, however, there is no one best insect to consider.

Nevertheless, insects can differ in protein content (2), which is why you should also look carefully here if you place a lot of value on a high protein content. In the next section we will explain in more detail why protein content can also be an evaluation factor.

Protein content

As already mentioned, there are vegetable and animal proteins, whereby insect protein is counted as animal protein. Protein is important for the human body and helps build muscle, so the protein content of insect protein can be a factor to consider. However, this does not mean that a high protein content is essential and healthier.

To give you a rough idea of the different insects and how much protein they contain, we have put together a table with a selection of insects:

Freeze-dried insect protein content per 100 g
mealworm approx. 45 g
short-winged cricket approx. 61 g
cricket approx. 68 g
buffalo worm approx. 60 g
migratory locust approx. 56 g

Facts worth knowing about insect protein

In the following, we would like to answer a few questions that frequently arise in connection with insect protein. So if some of them are still unclear to you, you might find an answer here.

Is insect protein vegan?

Insect protein is not vegan because insects are animals and therefore their own protein is animal protein (1). However, if you are environmentally conscious about not consuming meat from pigs, chickens, cattle or other animals, insects may be an option for you as a protein source.

Keeping insects is more environmentally friendly than keeping grazing livestock.

Raising insects is much more environmentally friendly than raising common livestock (7). It doesn't require as much land, and insects don't produce methane as cattle do, for example. However, if you want to eat a vegan diet, insect protein should not be part of your diet.

Are there any side effects of insect protein?

First of all, you should know that insect protein as a food is relatively new in Western cultures. Therefore, knowledge about insect protein as a food is limited and possible side effects are largely unknown. However, it is clear that insects can cause allergic reactions (8). Therefore, you should be sure that you do not have any allergies related to insects before consuming insect protein.

Insektenprotein-3

Insects can cause allergies. Therefore, you should clarify possible allergies to insects in advance.
(Image source: pixabay.com / nastya_gepp)

Is insect protein also suitable for dogs and cats?

Insect protein can not only provide valuable nutrients to the human body, but your dog or cat can also benefit from insect protein. For example, dogs and cats may not tolerate their current wet or dry food. In such cases, insect protein-based foods can help.

If you are considering changing your pet's diet, you should still talk to a vet about your plans beforehand and clarify any risks.

Photo source: Rido/ 123rf.com

References (8)

1. Birgit A. Rumpold & Oliver Schlüter. Insect-based protein sources and their potential for human consumption: Nutritional composition and processing.
Source

2. Lenka Kouřimská & Anna Adámková. Nutritional and sensory quality of edible insects. NFS Journal, Volume 4, October 2016, Pages 22-26.
Source

3. Rudy Caparros Megidoa, Chloé Giertsa, Christophe Blecker, Yves Brostauxc, Éric Haubrugea, Taofic Alabia, Frédéric Francisa. Food Quality and Preference. Volume 52, September 2016, Pages 273-243. Consumer acceptance of insect-based alternative meat products in Western countries.
Source

4. Recommended Dietary Allowances: 10th Edition. Protein and Amino Acids.
Source

5. de Gier, S. & Verhoeckx, K. Insect (food) allergy and allergens.
Source

6. Jay R. Hoffman & Michael J. Falvo. Protein - Which is Best?
Source

7. Arnold van Huis & Dennis G A B Oonincx. The environmental sustainability of insects as food and feed. A review.
Source

8. Mohd Adnan Kausar. 2018. A review on Respiratory allergy caused by insects.
Source

Why you can trust me?

Wissenschaftliche Studie
Birgit A. Rumpold & Oliver Schlüter. Insect-based protein sources and their potential for human consumption: Nutritional composition and processing.
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Lenka Kouřimská & Anna Adámková. Nutritional and sensory quality of edible insects. NFS Journal, Volume 4, October 2016, Pages 22-26.
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Rudy Caparros Megidoa, Chloé Giertsa, Christophe Blecker, Yves Brostauxc, Éric Haubrugea, Taofic Alabia, Frédéric Francisa. Food Quality and Preference. Volume 52, September 2016, Pages 273-243. Consumer acceptance of insect-based alternative meat products in Western countries.
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Recommended Dietary Allowances: 10th Edition. Protein and Amino Acids.
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
de Gier, S. & Verhoeckx, K. Insect (food) allergy and allergens.
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Jay R. Hoffman & Michael J. Falvo. Protein - Which is Best?
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Arnold van Huis & Dennis G A B Oonincx. The environmental sustainability of insects as food and feed. A review.
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Mohd Adnan Kausar. 2018. A review on Respiratory allergy caused by insects.
Go to source
Reviews