Have you ever sat on the couch ready to have your favorite movie ready, you’re heading to the fridge, and just wish you had a nice, juicy packet of food worms to snack on? Good news! The European Union recently approved yellow food worms to keep them safe for human consumption, and the delicious treat will soon hit the shelves of supermarkets. This is the first time insects have received such approval, others are expected to follow suit.
Of course, the idea behind replacing beef burgers as an alternative to a ketchup burger may resonate with many people but there is a good reason behind their approval. Insects are a brilliant source of protein, and in an age of rapid population growth in almost every nation in the world, providing an opportunity to mass-produce food in regions struggling to meet demand.
Whether they are whole or powdered in making burgers or pasta dishes, yellow food worms are now considered ‘novel food’ – meaning it is a new food item that was not previously recognized by the rules. However, eating insects is not a new concept in many countries. The report says that two and a half billion people worldwide regularly eat insects called entomophagy, but this is a trend that has failed to catch up in Western countries.
Many food experts and even chefs want to change that. Some U.S. chefs already get a lot of people fighting the immediate adversity to cook tiny morsels into up-market food. Start-ups have opened, selling a variety of gourmet foods and snacks for both humans and dogs, making it a cheap alternative to receiving vital nutrients at affordable prices.
As a result, large-scale insect farms have recently received millions of dollars in funding for the production of various types of grabs. Insect, the France-based insect protein leader, now produces 1,500 metric tons of mealworm protein a month on a single plant in 2019 after significant investment from the European Union. Companies like Ynsect claim that with an estimated survival of 9 billion people by 2050, insects should be an important source of food for the growing population.
The European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) food insect approval means they can now be sold in all European countries. Such products are currently sold in the United States, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, and Finland, but access to other countries is restricted by the EFSA.
So, do you eat snacks when food bugs hit stores near you?