Agência para o Investimento e Comércio Externo de Portugal


Portuguese startup Portugal Bugs is making strides in the European market with its insect-based snacks. The startup has already entered the Spanish market and plans to expand further into Europe, targeting Germany, the Netherlands, France and Belgium next year, with the North American market in their sights by 2026.

Co-founders Guilherme Pereira and Sara Martins, inspired during their food engineering studies, began developing insect-based products in 2016. In 2021, Portugal Bugs was launched as the country's "first insect protein brand".


Despite facing initial legislative hurdles in Portugal, the company has gained traction after insect-based products received legal approval in 2021. Portugal Bugs has introduced dehydrated insects to restaurants and major retail chains, selling snacks, flour, crackers and energy bars. The startup is seeking €650,000 in investment to support market expansion, team growth and research into new products, including insect-based burgers and meatballs.


The company uses mealworm larvae and house crickets supplied by Portuguese company Tecmafoods. While there is still some social stigma associated with eating insects, Sara Martins has seen a positive change in consumer attitudes since the products were introduced. She highlights the potential of insects as a sustainable source of protein, helping to reduce meat consumption in the face of a growing global population.


Despite the promise of insect-based solutions for a more sustainable future, government budget cuts have affected the initiative's financial support, which was initially allocated €60.1 million and subsequently reduced to €42.988 million as part of the Recovery and Resilience Plan.


Article seen in ECO