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Why this company thinks you might like mealworms and crickets in your meatballs

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Protein source from mealworms and crickets could be next tasty addition to food

VTT technologies is working on developing a way to add more protein to the likes of meatballs and falafels from mealworms and crickets. There has been a push to get the public to embrace the notion of insects for foods and maybe for very good reasons.


According to a press release, the company has already developed food ingredients from the critters in advance of the growing trend for insect farming in Europe.

Extracting protein from insects to put in food can add new texture and flavor, the company says.

“A dry fractionation method developed by VTT can be used to easily produce insect fractions with varying flavours and degrees of coarseness: fine fractions contain small amounts of the insect chitin shell which tends to feel rough on the tongue and have a strong meat-like taste, while coarse fractions are milder in flavour and contain more chitin.”

But before you go bonkers about the thought of eating insects, here are some things worth considering.

  • Insects are rich in protein. Adding mealworm and cricket parts boosts the protein delivery of food three-fold. They can also provide food security.
  • Chitin is the exoskeleton of the insect - the hard outer, crusty surface. It is already used as a food thickener and contains fiber and prebiotics that can help keep our gut healthy.
  • The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations is rather keen on the idea and they think the public should be more open to the prospect of edible insects, of which there are over 1000 species.
  • You already eat insects and don’t even know it. The FDA has set some limits, but I promise the bug parts are there.

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BTW, have you heard of a “grasshopper Taco”?

You can already buy insect products online, in case you’re ready to jump in and try a few.

VTT Technologies expects the EU to grant authorization for the novel type of food by 2018. The EU has already invested a significant amount of money toward researching edible insects.

Next up could be mealworms and crickets in your meatballs and falafels. Many experts think it makes sense to consume insects, saying we just all need to get over the ‘yuk factor’. Can you?

Image credit:
VTT Technologies



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