Starting in May, the major Swiss supermarket chain, Coop, will be selling burgers and meatballs made from mealworm larvae. These new insect-based meat products are the result of a partnership between Coop and Essento, a startup that ambitiously wants to make insect dining the new norm.
Replacing beef with insects is one way to reduce consumption of beef products (raising beef cattle uses a lot of natural resources, notably land and water). But insects have been creeping and crawling their way into food products for some time now for other reasons too. The United Nations is just one of the organizations that have touted insects as a possible "superfood" of the future, thanks to their high protein content and small impact on the environment. Companies including Bugsolutley, which produces cricket pasta, and Bitty Foods, which is known for its cricket flour cookies, have been working to make 'entomophagy' or insect eating, more commonplace.
As Coop and Essento prepare to get Swiss consumers on the insect grub bandwagon, Essento co-founder Christian Bärtsch says that the real goal is to offer a product that is appetizing enough to change the way people think about insect-based foods.
"Collaborating with a large supermarket chain enables us to reach a broad consumer group," Bärtsch said in an interview with Business Insider. He says that while the partnership between his start-up and the Swiss supermarket is starting with the sale of just burgers and meatballs, the plan is to expand the offering of foods made with insects. We're wondering just what else they are working on?!