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Costa Rica seeks to develop sales and marketing of insect-based food industry

The work will be carried out jointly with the institutions of the agricultural sector, in the construction and revision of the lists of animals of exotic ornamental species.

By Patricia Lacerda - August 25, 2021

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Foreign Trade Promoter of Costa Rica (Procomer) highlighted the country’s potential to develop the insect food industry, such as the cricket and the mealworm, recognized as alternative proteins.

The authorities reported that as part of the Descubre program, the cricket (Acheta domesticus) and mealworm (Zophobas morio and Tenebrio molitor) were added to the list of exotic ornamental species, which opens the opportunity to produce and market products made from these insects and develop the industry.

“In Costa Rica, we can already begin to develop an insect-based industry (…) Apart from promoting development processes, transformation, and technical advice for companies in the agricultural, livestock, and fishing sectors, the initiative also aims to eliminate bottlenecks that hinder innovation in agricultural activities,” said the Minister of Foreign Trade Andrés Valenciano.

The work will be carried out jointly with the institutions of the agricultural sector in the construction and revision of the lists of animals of exotic ornamental species, a fundamental aspect to guarantee to the citizenry that the import, export, and management of the same is done in an environmentally sustainable way.

“As part of the promotion of production and diversification of the national economy, crickets and mealworms are included in the list of ornamental exotic species for human and animal consumption, but there is also the responsibility to control and verify public and animal health, as well as the biosecurity and safety of by-products,” said the director of the Metropolitan Directorate of the National Animal Health Service, Danilo Leandro.

According to the Procomer study “Trends and innovations in the food industry 2020”, before the pandemic, there were seven marked preferences regarding food consumption, one of them known as “plant-based and alternative proteins”, which highlights edible insects.

Experts explained that insects would continue to remain in consumer preferences. By 2020, the consumer spending hierarchy positioned trends such as health concerns, sustainability, cross-industry, consumer technology, and the role of functional foods as value generators.

Therefore, the industry that develops around insect-based foods has the advantage of complying with the aforementioned trends such as health concerns and functional foods since both mealworms and crickets have high nutritional value.