Scientists want to replace meat with bugs

Posted by Lydia Leavitt

Bugs are probably the most neglected form of protein. The crunchy crawlers may be gross to some, but to others they are a perfectly acceptable thing to eat. But will fried cockroaches and chocolate covered ants be the next big thing in the world of gastronomy?

Researchers say maybe.

To be sure, Dutch scientists are currently researching ways to replace "acceptable" foms of meat like steak or chicken with insects for a healthier, more environmental friendly source of protein.

"There will come a day when a Big Mac costs 120 euros ($163) and a Bug Mac 12 euros, when more people will eat insects than other meat," head researcher Arnold van Huis told a group of taste testers at a seminar at Wageningen University in the central Netherlands.

"The best way to start is to try it once," the entomologist insisted.

And try they did. "Tasty ... kind of nutty!" said Walinka van Tol, a student attending the seminar.

Among the treats served were Thai marinated grasshopper spring rolls, buffalo worm chocolate gnache, and some indiscriminate pastry.

Scientists say humans can eat anything from meal worms, buffalo worms, grasshoppers worms, to gnats, wasps, termites and beetles.

Although the Dutch taste testers weren’t doubled over in disgust, scientists admit widespread adoption may be tough.

Entomologist Marcel Dicke said, "People think it is something dirty. It generates a Fear Factor response," citing only the best reality show ever where contestants are forced to face their fears and eat unfamiliar things like live bugs or cow brains. 

Scoff you may, but one day we could be forced to turn to bug burritos as the population continues to grow and put strain on the world’s resources.

Bugs offer a good alternative to meat since they are low in fat and efficient to cultivate. And it’s not like people don’t eat them all over the world. Bugs are considered a delicacy in places like Mexico and Asia.

Insect ice cream anyone?

(Via AFP