Thailand Top of the Edible Insect Market? UN Says Highly Likely

edible insect market thailand
Photo copyright Takoradee, Creative Commons License


Thailand could soon be top of the edible insect market

It looks like Thailand could be poised to be at the top of the edible insect market. That is, if a new United Nations study on edible insects has anything to do with it. In the study published by the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization this week, they mention the edible insect market is expected to grow by more than 60 percent in the next 25 years and that Thailand is one of the world’s leaders in the industry. That’s because edible bugs and worms are plentiful in Thailand, as well as nutritious and, of course, cheap.

The study done by the UN was carried out in Thailand, one of the main countries in the world for the consumption of edible insects. Anyone who has traveled even a little in Thailand knows this, as bugs like crickets, bamboo worms and grasshoppers are easy to find, are cheap to buy and, yes, they are delicious and nutritious.

Which types of edible insects are eaten in Thailand?

There are around 200 insects species consumed in Thailand, some of which are farmed in the wild while many others now come from insect farms set up for the purpose. Much of the popular edible insect market in Thailand occurs in rural areas, where people have eaten them as part of a healthy diet for generations, but insects and bugs are also consumed in cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai as well.

With its latest study on edible insects, the UN is urging Thailand to continue to increase its farming of them and its research into better ways of doing so as the UN believes, if there is ever a world food shortage, eating insects could be one of the easiest ways to lessen the effects.

If you’ve been to Thailand and haven’t partaken of the delights in the Thai edible insect market, the next time you’re here you really should. You can buy anything from bamboo worms and crickets to cockroaches, scorpions, weaver ants and buffalo dung beetles, and they’re available from street carts all over the country.

Prices for edible insects in Thailand

Typical prices for a bag of fried crickets or bamboo worms start at around 30 baht ($1) a bag, which is usually enough for two people to enjoy a quick snack, and increase depending on how rare the insects are and, of course, how large a portion you buy.

I also highly recommend trying them if you’re ever in a bar and fried edible insects are on the menu. They taste lovely with an ice cold beer.

Read on for more tips on where to buy fried insects in Bangkok and which ones are the best to eat.