South Korea looking forward to expand edible insects industry?

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  • South Korea is planning to expand its insect industry as a source of agricultural income by promoting more consumption of edible insect
  • In 2015, South Korea’s insect industry was worth 304 billion won ($278 million), which is nearly double from what the country made in 2011
  • Experts said insects are a rich source of fat, protein, vitamins, fiber and minerals

SEOUL, South Korea – South Korea is looking forward to making a buzz in the food industry by introducing edible insects and encouraging its consumption as nutritious and environmentally friendly food.

South China Morning Post mentioned in an article that South Korea is planning to expand its insect industry as a source of agricultural income by promoting more consumption of edible insect.

As part of government’s initiative to make people more comfortable with the idea of eating crickets and mealworms, the insects are ground into powder or hydrolyzed to extract oils and protein and turned into food.

Entomophagy, or insect-eating, is a trend that has been common in different parts of the world. In South Korea, boiled silkworm pupae, commonly known as beondegi, becomes a popular snack among the locals.

Kim Young Wook, the chief executive of the private-sector Korean Edible Insect Laboratory, shared that he won over skeptical customers on trying the edible insect through good presentation.

“If people taste foods after having a good first impression, and find they are delicious, that’s everything, because taste speaks for itself,” said Kim, who is also the owner of Papillon’s Kitchen.

An article by Jane Chung for Reuters said that in 2015, South Korea’s insect industry was worth 304 billion won ($278 million), which is nearly double from what the country made in 2011.

With the 304 billion won, 6 billion won was the income accounted for human consumption while the remaining is from other uses like animal feed.

The South Korean government is seeing a steady development in the industry thus they plan to expand it to 530 billion won by 2020, with food making up nearly a fifth.

Back in 2011, only 265 farms producing insect were active in the country. This year, the number increased massively with 724 active farms.

Experts said insects are a rich source of fat, protein, vitamins, fiber and minerals. In fact, mealworms contain almost same unsaturated omega-3 and six fatty acids as compared to fish, and higher than those found in beef and pork.

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