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Thai entrepreneur pushing insects as the snack of the future

Updated : 2019-10-31 13:05:47

Insects have long been part of the diet of poor rural Thais, but entrepreneur Thatnat Chanthatham, inspired by studies showing bugs are high in protein and raising them does minimal damage to the environment, hopes to broaden the market for baked bugs by packaging them like potato chips and selling them in the convenience stores and supermarkets.

Thai entrepreneur Thatnat Chanthatham shows crickets at Smile cricket farm at Ratchaburi province, southwest of Bangkok, Thailand. Insects have long been part of the diet of poor rural Thais, but Thatnat - inspired by studies showing bugs are high in protein and raising them does minimal damage to the environment - hopes to broaden the market for baked bugs by packaging them like potato chips and selling them in the convenience stores and supermarkets. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Thai entrepreneur Thatnat Chanthatham shows crickets at Smile cricket farm at Ratchaburi province, southwest of Bangkok, Thailand. Insects have long been part of the diet of poor rural Thais, but Thatnat - inspired by studies showing bugs are high in protein and raising them does minimal damage to the environment - hopes to broaden the market for baked bugs by packaging them like potato chips and selling them in the convenience stores and supermarkets. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Employees sort out crickets for size at Smile cricket farm at Ratchaburi province, southwest of Bangkok. Rural Thais have long eaten bugs as part of their diet. In big cities, street vendors catering to migrant workers sell cooked insects that under most circumstances would cause foreign tourists to whip out a can of bug spray. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Employees sort out crickets for size at Smile cricket farm at Ratchaburi province, southwest of Bangkok. Rural Thais have long eaten bugs as part of their diet. In big cities, street vendors catering to migrant workers sell cooked insects that under most circumstances would cause foreign tourists to whip out a can of bug spray. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
The supply chain begins at the Smile cricket farm in Ratchaburi province, 100 kilometres (60 miles) west of Bangkok. In one breeding room alone, more than a million of the chirping insects are being raised on a 45-day cycle from egg to adult to harvest. Some of the products are baked here, others at the next stop, a factory in Bangkok, where they are packaged and then trucked to retail outlets. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
The supply chain begins at the Smile cricket farm in Ratchaburi province, 100 kilometres (60 miles) west of Bangkok. In one breeding room alone, more than a million of the chirping insects are being raised on a 45-day cycle from egg to adult to harvest. Some of the products are baked here, others at the next stop, a factory in Bangkok, where they are packaged and then trucked to retail outlets. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Some of the products are baked at the farm, others at the next stop, a factory in Bangkok, where they are packaged and then trucked to retail outlets.  (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Some of the products are baked at the farm, others at the next stop, a factory in Bangkok, where they are packaged and then trucked to retail outlets.  (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
A Chinese tourist looks at a pack of crickets named HiSo snacks at a supermarket in Bangkok, Thailand. Small crickets are one of the best sellers in the range of insect convenience snacks sold under the HiSo brand — that's Thai slang for
A Chinese tourist looks at a pack of crickets named HiSo snacks at a supermarket in Bangkok, Thailand. Small crickets are one of the best sellers in the range of insect convenience snacks sold under the HiSo brand — that's Thai slang for "high society." HiSo snacks unabashedly proclaim what they are: the bamboo worms look like bamboo worms; the crickets look like crickets. The line also includes crispy silkworms. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
They come in original, barbecue and tom yam flavours, and can be found in Thailand's ubiquitous 7-Eleven shops and in a major supermarket chain. Crickets are priced at 25 baht (83 cents) for a bag; at the high end, a tube of bamboo worms costs 160 baht ($5.29). (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
They come in original, barbecue and tom yam flavours, and can be found in Thailand's ubiquitous 7-Eleven shops and in a major supermarket chain. Crickets are priced at 25 baht (83 cents) for a bag; at the high end, a tube of bamboo worms costs 160 baht ($5.29). (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
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