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Currently, farming crickets is quite labor intensive.

No wonder that if you compare prices, in developed countries you get crickets at say \$100/kg, while in Thailand they cost under \$2/pound, in an e-shop \$29/kg which comes close to production cost in a developed country.

Nevertheless, there are quite many cricket farms for human food opening in developed countries.

Why?

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  • $\begingroup$ Have you don't research on the socio-economy demands? Thailand is well known for its advanced tropical fish breeding industry. In addition, online-store usually markup steeply on exotic products. $\endgroup$
    – mootmoot
    Aug 24 '18 at 9:32
  • $\begingroup$ @mootmoot the question is actually, what's the point to breed crickets in industrial countires if you can't (yet) produce them cheaper than meat, esp. where labor cost is so high and optimization is really tough $\endgroup$
    – J. Doe
    Aug 24 '18 at 9:36
  • $\begingroup$ In Thailand , crickets are good fish nutrients. In fact, it is easier to process fish meat than extracting cricket protein. $\endgroup$
    – mootmoot
    Aug 24 '18 at 9:39
  • $\begingroup$ @mootmoot so would you say it's just (ideological?) hype with crickets? like, industrial fish breeding makes far more sense economically seen, and is sustainable enough? $\endgroup$
    – J. Doe
    Aug 24 '18 at 9:40
  • $\begingroup$ For fish farming : you need to fish the feed, and somebody must growth the protein to feed the fish $\endgroup$
    – mootmoot
    Aug 24 '18 at 9:48
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I think there are probably a few different answers to your question, all of which likely play some role.

First, in many developed countries, insect use in human food is regarded not as an inferior good, but a normal good. By highlighting things like nutrition content (specifically protein), they're trying to capture a market that includes more affluent, health conscious consumers. These individuals are likely to be a bit less price sensitive, and may even use price as a signalling component. Therefore, products using crickets might be less sensitive to pricing compared to other goods.

Second, companies trying to sell cricket-based products might also feel that their consumers would be more concerned about ingredient sourcing to distant farms. This could be because of perceived fears of quality differences, or because of things like a preference towards local sourcing.

Third, it seems that many of the newer farms opening in the developed world like the one profiled here are addressing the issues of labor intensity in cricket production by increasing efficiencies and utilizing more technology in the production process.

There's also likely some natural home bias in products like this. Much of the grassroots support for increased cricket consumption is driven by the farmers themselves. Because stronger community roots can improve these efforts, and because of the high costs of researching, incorporating, and offshoring production facilities to a distant country, there might just not be that much of an economic incentive to move production overseas. It isn't trivially easy to offshore an entire production facility, and the profitability and long term market potential might not have quite reached a position where that's profitable yet.

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  • $\begingroup$ IMHO, the OP is comparing apple and orange. I.e. the cricket in Thailand rarely gone through heavy processing, e.g.pulverize the cricket and filter chitin from it. In fact, it is NOT labor intensive for such farm in Thailand. In fact, insect don't need constant feeding compare to livestock. $\endgroup$
    – mootmoot
    Aug 24 '18 at 16:09

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