There were a few exceptionally busy days in Bangkok this summer at Thaifex and the AFFIA annual event, and while jam-packed they were quite productive in terms of spreading the word about edible insects!

It was also really interesting for me to meet so many people from venture capital funds and large corporations with interest in the space. Over the years I’ve seen some tepid curiosity, but that seems to have morphed into a full-on desire to get involved with the industry on some level now. Which is great.

We had a variety of different events taking place over the course of the week, which made for an intense learning experience and quality networking.


Bugsolutely cricket pasta at Thaifex start-up zone 2019A handful of regional companies were able to represent AFFIA, the Asian Food & Feed Insect Association, at Thaifex. It’s one of the largest consumer product expos in Asia, jam-packed wall to wall with companies selling every type of food imaginable – from dried durian to 3rd wave coffee to mind-melting nut butters.

And insects! Several of the Thai companies selling insect snacks were present as well, including Hiso, Starbugs, and Rice Crik, all of whom had big booths in different areas of the expo center.

Myself and my business partner Curran (pictured above, main image) were at the startup zone with some Changrit Kamleang dried cricket snacks we’d brought from Cambodia, sharing a table with the world’s best insect pasta, Bugsolutely.

There were also algae companies and others working on innovative solutions to the future of food, including one startup which has a patented non-toxic spray for fruits like bananas and apples which supposedly keeps them from rotting and thus they look better (and are still fresh inside) for much longer. A novel solution to eliminating food waste!

It was really fun to talk to people who were walking through and curious about insects – as is typical, nearly everyone had heard about insects being the future of food, but many people also said “I’m not ready yet!”.

But, since we had delicious caramel crickets and bbq crickets, we were able to entice most of them to at least try one…and as is typical, they nearly all were surprised at how good they tasted!

It is truly just a matter of:

  • understanding the sustainability benefits
  • understanding the health benefits
  • a positive taste experience

And a person has an easy change in mindset, like I’ve said all along.

I fully believe in this, because I was the skeptic years ago when I started, for all the typical western cultural biased reasons! Once I realized they’re the most sustainable protein, they’re incredibly good for my health, and they can taste delicious, well…game over.

I’m a bug-eater now for good! 😀

Bugs Cafe and Le Cordon Bleu cooking show Thafex Future Food 2019

To help with the positive culinary experience, there was also a cooking show put on by Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Bangkok, and Bugs Cafe in Siem Reap (Cambodia).

Curran and I introduced the event with a few words about entomophagy and AFFIA, and then Davy and the guys cooked up some crowd-pleasing insect-infused savory and sweet dishes over the next 90 minutes.

The event was in the featured time slot in the afternoon, which was really cool of Thaifex to do for AFFIA and edible insects. And judging by the crowd, there’s considerable interest in how insect foods can taste when prepared by world-class chefs.

Hiso insect snacks at Thaifex 2019Over at the Hiso booth, they had a cooking show of their own in the evening on a different day, put on in conjunction with Insects In The Backyard, Bangkok’s most prestigious insect restaurant (and one of the most well-known globally).

Hiso snacks are themselves quite popular, on the shelves around Thailand at the top grocery stores and in thousands of 7-eleven locations.

Insects were mentioned in other presentations throughout the week as well, since there were quite a few different panels and presentations related to alternative protein.

Along with the main consumer event concourses, Thaifex had a Leadership In Food Innovation conference, which Curran spoke at and then was on a separate panel with other CEO’s and research leaders across the alternative protein industry.

The conference was geared toward business leaders and a more technical audience, so it was an opportunity to present insects as a sustainable, healthy solution for sustainable development goals and personalized nutrition as well.

Since Curran has a ton of experience in all facets of insect farming and production, along with being an avid consumer of insect protein, and an expert in nutrition (especially as pertains to protein for sports and performance), he was able to communicate the benefits of edible insects at all levels of the supply chain, from sustainable farming to their impact on nutrient absorption in humans.

Entovegan 28 days cold brew coffee coconut water at Thaifex 2019

Cold-brew coffee and coconut water? Yes please!

Thaifex also provided ample opportunity for me to sample a large variety of different foods, my favorite areas being the coconut products (I loooooove coconut water!) and the organic natural foods section.

There were some nut butters at different booths that were a total mouthgasm, and so healthy…it was hard to be disciplined and not eat too much of it all at once. :-p

The only bummer about Thaifex was the location, quite far north of Bangkok, and the train system doesn’t go out there yet (in another year or 2).

So traffic was really, really horrible going and coming. I don’t usually whine about stuff like that, but 3-4 hours per day sitting in a car was rough lol.

If you’re going in 2020, check to see if the trains run out there yet, and if not, plan accordingly! You have been warned. 😉


Josh Galt speaking on edible insect marketing and messaging for AFFIAAFFIA’s annual conference took place in conjunction with Kasetsart University, one of Thailand’s leading R&D hubs related to agriculture and also insects as food & feed.

KU has long been an avid supporter of AFFIA and the insect industry in Thailand – and if you’re a company looking for specific R&D lab partners, they are open to working with all types of insect-related projects in the private sector.

The event was 2 days of presentations, networking, and eating different insect foods with AFFIA members from all over Asia, and even as far as Europe.

I got to give a couple presentations, one on Marketing and Messaging of edible insects, and the other one an updated version of my Entovegan presentation.

I also had some fun helping to moderate discussions throughout the day, and conducted a public interview with Gerard Chia from New Protein Capital (they were early investors in Ynsect, who if you recall just raised another round in February of $125M).

Ant samosas with Bugs Cafe Siem Reap

Ant samosas by Bugs Cafe

In the end we gained a few new members for AFFIA, were able to introduce companies seeking funding to a handful of VC’s looking for investment opportunities in the sector, learned quite a bit of new research into insect production, disease prevention, and nutrition, and ate a whole lot of delicious bugs!

A big part of AFFIA’s mission is also working to support positive government regulations and improve standards for smallhold farmers.

Small groups, or task forces were formed during the event to continue the work that has been done to date and take it to a higher level in the coming year, especially as pertains to Thailand’s cricket farming GAP standards and infrastructure.

If you’re involved in the insect industry and interested in the Asian market, please check out the AFFIA website and contact us if there’s any questions that you have!

We’re here to help companies and research scientists with networking and navigating any and all regulatory and supply chain challenges in the region.

Overall it was a very productive week, even though I ate way more durian and nut butter than I probably should have! Getting to spend quality time face to face with other people involved in the insect industry though is so valuable.

There’s so much to learn from everyone’s experiences and different perspectives, and there’s a synergy that comes through collaboration toward a common goal. Ultimately, we all want people to understand the why behind insects as feed and food, and to have a positive experience with the products that introduce them to the sector.

In my view, every booth and event at Thaifex, and all the various educational elements of the AFFIA / KU event, were positive and moved the industry forward toward increased impact on the UN’s sustainable development goals.

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

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