Research projects funded with 3 million euros by the European Commission, to promote eating insects, are to be decided on this year. So far research points towards disguising insects as a processed protein source to make the idea more palatable.
When the European Union first launched an initiative last autumn to promote entomphagy as a viable food choice, there was the tricky dilemma of quite how to make insects appealing to the consumer. The European Commission decided to fund research to the tune of three million euros, to come up with the best proposal for using insects as a protein source.
After throwing millions away on the project, research thus far suggests disguising insects as a food source could be the best option. According to the Daily Mail, food experts agree that insects disguised as processed animal protein could be added to burgers. perhaps promoted as eco-burgers. Aware that the European palate may balk at the notion of chowing down on worms, locusts and ants in their natural form, grinding them up and adding them to fast food could be a viable solution.
While Europe and North America have never really embraced entomophagy through choice, scientists predict that it may become a necessary option in the coming decades, as raising traditional food sources becomes less viable. The U.S. does of course already allow insect fragments and rodent hairs to be contained within processed foods, withFDA approval,though it garners little publicity leaving most consumers unaware of the contents of their processed food choices.
Impact Magazine reported a small market geared towards high end insect products has slowly developed, with chocolate covered ants and other novelty insect items appealing to the adventurous. However, more widespread acceptance of insects as a solution to a future food production shortage needs to become acceptable, and insects pack a mean punch of protein and vitamins, in addition to being a low fat, tasty option, once the squeamish factor is overcome. With increased awareness of the health risks associated with fatty meats, insects could be offered as a healthy alternative.