SEOUL, Sept. 6 (Yonhap) -- Lotte Confectionery Co., a major South Korean snacks and ice cream maker, said Tuesday it has signed an initial agreement with Canada's Aspire Food Group as part of its push to tap into the emerging insect protein market.
Under a memorandum of understanding inked on Aug. 31, the two agreed to strengthen cooperation in protein alternatives and edible insects. Aspire Food Group plans to designate Lotte Confectionery as the exclusive distributor of its products in South Korea, Lotte Confectionery said.
Aspire Food specializes in the production of freeze-dried cricket used to make products such as granola, baking flour and pet food. The social venture operates a 9,290-square-meter farm in London, Ontario, which can produce 12 million kilograms of crickets every year.
"Edible insects may only be used in pet food now, but their potential is immeasurable, as many consider insects to become the main source of protein for humans in the next decade," Lotte Confectionery said.
The global market for insect-based protein amounted to US$250 million in 2020 and is expected to grow on an annual average by 27.4 percent from 2021 to 2028, according to data from global market watcher Grand View Research.