A Different Take on Eating Insects

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A Different Take on Eating Insects

04/07/2017

The Food and Agriculture Office of the United Nations says that insects are a sustainable and ecological food source, and they emit less greenhouse gas and ammonia than conventional livestock. According to Fortune magazine, more than 25 startups offering products containing insects have launched in the United States and Canada in the past few years. 

Over in Switzerland, there seems to be a lot less "ick" factor, and the country’s federal food safety office (BLV) said it was simplifying the system for unusual foodstuffs such as insect-based products that until now couldn't be sold without special authorization. Beginning May 1, 2017, any food product can be sold commercially as long as it respects food safety regulations. Quickly after the announcment came a welcome invitation for bugs from Coop – the Swiss supermarket chain which that marketshare --  which said it would be putting insect-based products on its shelves next spring. 

Here’s what makes this interesting: Coop is working with Swiss startup Essento, which specializes in developing insect-based dishes, to create a range of “surprising” products containing insect proteins, including meatballs and burgers. That’s not what’s interesting, although I would suggest that many U.S.-based supermarkets aren’t ready to make the same commitment – yet I do remember canned chocolate covered ants being sold in my Food Fair in Nutley, N.J., when I was a kid. 

It’s what Coop said in its public statement that's game-changing. Coop spokesman Roland Frefel said that adding certain varieties of insects to processed products would allow customers to “discover a new world of flavors” – Wow! A different take on marketing could just be the key to breaking down barriers, especially for Millennials and Gen Z. Push the sustainability and affordability messages to the back – and highlight the flavor of different insects. I can just see -- and taste -- our new product reviews now.

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