Street vendors selling deep-fried insects as snacks are a familiar sight in Bangkok, but a Thai entrepreneur is trying to give edible bugs a more upmarket appeal.

Panitan Tongsiri will launch his HiSo, short for high-society, brand of seasoned insect snacks in March and plans to stock them at gourmet food markets around the Thai capital.

Crunchy crickets and worms would be a delicacy available in plain salt, cheese, seaweed and barbecue flavours at ฿25 (£0.50p, $0.65) per pack, said the 29-year-old businessman.

Panitan stressed that his factory sourced the insects from organic farms.

Though many in the West shy away from fried worms and cicadas, the United Nations' Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has said eating insects has health benefits and they could be a food source for the world's growing population.

The market potential for HiSo delicacies is huge, both in terms of taste and as food security, said Panitan.

Bettina Lasbeck, 52, was one of the first to try the HiSo insect snacks at a tasting session on the streets of Bangkok.

"It looks like you could really eat it, not like it open (on street), scary or weird, or so. I heard or read once that it gets much more for insect for feeding the world. I guess this is the first option, I think," Lasbeck, tourist from Germany said after tasting some insects.

Crickets and worm snacks are sold outside bustling pubs and bars in Thailand and neighbouring countries, usually as an accompaniment to beer and whisky.