Insects are high in protein, low in fat and a sustainable food source, but would that make you want to start sprinkling them on salads or putting them in a sandwich?
Well, you might be in the future. Insect burgers go on sale in Coop supermarkets in Switzerland today.
The burgers, made by insect food company Essento, contain mealworms as well as rice, vegetables – including carrot, celery and leek – as well as oregano and chilli.
Seven of the supermarkets across Switzerland are also selling ‘insect balls’, also with mealworms, mixed with chickpeas, onions, garlic, coriander and parsley. Apparently they’re great in a pitta with a yoghurt dip.
Silvio Baselgia, head of category management and procurement freshness at Coop, describes the new products as having a “balanced flavour” and the perfect way to show off the “culinary diversity that insects have to offer”.
We’ll have to take his word for it about the taste, but when it comes to being eco-friendly, there’s no doubt insects are a green choice.
The ecological footprint of insects is much, much smaller than that of cows. Insects emit far fewer greenhouse gases than livestock and need less water.
Christian Bärtsch, co-founder of Essento, says: “In terms of food, insects are an excellent choice for a number of reasons. They have a high culinary potential, their production saves resources and their nutritional profile is high-quality. Insects are the perfect complement to a modern diet.”
The rest of the world is following, whether you like it or not.
The Australian online store The Edible Bug Shop has some surprising delights for you to browse, including dehydrated ants, satay crickets and insect protein powder. British company Eat Grub make insect energy bars and the website has loads of recipes, from grasshopper stir fry to mealworm flapjacks.
So who knows? Insect products could be on the shelves of your local supermarkets any day now.