Mealworm burger, anyone? Insect-based food to hit European supermarkets next week

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  • It has bushtucker trial written all over it, but mealworm burgers and other insect-based foods are set to go on sale in Europe by 21st August.

    Switzerland’s second-largest supermarket chain Coop made the announcement that it would begin selling an insect burger and insect balls, based on protein-rich mealworm.

    It will be the country’s first insect-based food to be marketed for human consumption.

    The move sees Switzerland as the first European country to authorise insect-based foods.

    Essento, founded in 2013, are the company supplying the creepy-crawly dishes. Their mission is to ‘bring sustainable, healthy and delicious food innovations to the table.’

    While insects are a good source of protein, and much more environmentally friendly to raise, they must be bred under strict supervision for four generations before they are considered appropriate for human consumption, according to Swiss law.

    Local production will there take a few months to get started. In the meantime, imports are possible under strict conditions – the insects must be raised in accordance with the Swiss requirements at a company submitted to inspections by national food safety authorities.

    Countries all over the world have already adopted this protein-rich diet, and see insect dishes as the norm.

    According to the Daily Mail, the practice of eating insects is called entomophagy and has been done by humans for thousands of years.

    It’s still common in many tropical countries – according to the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations, insects supplement the diets of approximately 2 billion people.

    A popular snack food in Thailand named jing leed features deep-fried crickets served with a soy-type sauce.

    In Mexico, you can find chicatanas – pan-roasted ants served with a wedge of lime – and in Japan you can find fried cicada and silk moth pupae.

    Meanwhile ants are a popular snack in China and Brazil!

    These diverse meal choices prove that insects as a food source are a good source of protein, vitamins, fats and essential minerals.

    Would you dine out on a mealworm burger? Let us know in the comments box below.