LifeStyle & Health

New food trend: Meat flavoured insects


Ever since the benefits of eating insects — both for our health and for the environment — have been the subject of headlines, people have been talking about their peanut flavour as they dare a tasting experience.

However, these edible bugs can also taste like meat and even shrimp!

Beetles, caterpillars, ants, grasshoppers, crickets… Nearly 2.5 billion people in the world include insects in their diet. A culinary habit that nonetheless still encounters obstacles to being adopted among Western consumers for cultural reasons.

Apart from their transformation into meal and flour, these invertebrates are often presented as an ideal snack to convince European consumers to try this food, whose production generates between 10 and 100 times fewer greenhouse gases than pork production. While crickets can be flavoured with garlic, herbs or turmeric, their flavour is generally described as reminiscent of peanuts.

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But to encourage more consumers to try insects and eat them regularly, perhaps we should emphasize that they can taste like meat. A South Korean study from Wonkwang University, spotted by the Guardian, reports that mealworms can taste like meaty barbeque when heated with sugar. And it gets better: the type of cooking can indicate the flavour repertoire.

When this family of insects is fried as a doughnut might be, you get shrimp-like flavours. The result is the same if you choose to roast them. But, if you choose to steam them, you get a corn-like aroma.

The results of these scientific experiments on the flavour profile of insects make their use in the production of meat alternative products a real possibility. These insects may then be in demand for more than feeding pets or aquaculture.

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