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Food of the Future? Insect Burgers Hit European Supermarkets

For decades, a recurring element of science fiction tales has been speculation about what types of foods human beings will eat in the assuredly dystopian future. From Soylent Green’s depiction of humanity forced to eat itself after climate change rids the Earth of its ability to grow food, to the synthetic culinary wonders created by the replicators of the Star Trek franchise, sci-fi writers have imagined a future where humanity turns to strange new foods out of necessity in the brave new futures in which it finds itself. Now, food scientists and biologists in Europe have taken humanity a step in those strange directions with the release of the world’s first insect-based burger meat products.

If you're gonna make bug meat, you might as well put it right on the label.

If you’re gonna make bug meat, you might as well put it right on the label.

Bug-based burgers and meatballs will go on sale at Swiss supermarket chain Coop this month, according to a Coop press release. Silvio Baselgia, Head of Procurement at Coop, says he’s proud to finally offer the bug meat, as his stores have been trying to cram bugs down their customers’ gullets for some time now:

For a long time we have worked on this goal and now it’s time for us to be the first retailer in Switzerland to start selling insect products from Essento. With enjoyable and balanced taste, these products are perfectly suited to the culinary variety of insects.

The bug burgers are the brainchild of Swiss laboratory Essento, whose mission is to lower the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted by livestock every year by devoting agricultural facilities to raising mealworms as opposed to massive, flatulence-filled cows. The average perpetually farting cow releases over 100 kilograms of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere for every kilogram of protein it produces; mealworms, on the other hand, produce around a dozen kg of CO2 for each kg of protein they become once their corpses are ground into a fine power.

No unethical cow farts went into my falafel!

No unethical cow farts went into the making of this falafel. Only ground up bug corpses.

Christian Bärtsch, co-founder of Essento, says the insect-based proteins are truly the food of the future – if we’re to have a future on this planet, that is:

As food, insects are convincing in many respects: They have a high culinary potential, their production saves resources, and their nutritional profile is high-quality. Thus insects are the perfect complement to a modern diet.

If we’re gonna save the planet, looks like we’ve got to get used to eating bug balls. Just cover ‘em in Sriracha. Sriracha makes everything edible.

I'd eat it.

Sprouts? Gross. On second thought, I’ll pass. Blech.