Brussels university becomes first commercial kitchen to serve up insect-based food

People have been dining on bug burgers since they were introduced last month

Neela Debnath
Wednesday 05 November 2014 12:30 GMT
Are insects our food future?
Are insects our food future?

Students will eat anything these days - or at least in Brussels, Belgium, where one university has started serving insect-based food in its canteen, making it the first commercial kitchen in the country to offer such exotic cuisine.

Diners can expect to feast on buffalo worm burgers and worm nuggets - the latter was introduced after the burgers proved popular. The tasty critter dishes were introduced in October and are set to remain a staple on the menu, and they will be served every two to three weeks.

But this is nothing new for Belgium. The nation was first granted approval to sell insect-based produce last year and since then this new brand of meat is slowly starting to take off.

Back in September a Belgian supermarket started selling a range of products containing creepy-crawlies. Customers at Delhaize can buy tomato or carrot spreads containing mealworms, however the bugs are not visible and only account for around four to six per cent of the product.

Eating insects as an alternative to conventional meat sources has been an idea considered for some time but Belgium is the first EU member state to be allowed to sell insect-based food products.

According to a report from the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization, insects are a good source of protein and “are healthy, nutritious alternatives to mainstream staples such as chicken, pork, beef and even fish”.

There are also environmental benefits, with insects releasing less greenhouse gases than livestock and rearing insect produce does not require clearing land.

However, it may take a while yet to convince consumers to tuck into some grubs. A study by Ghent University revealed that food neophobia, a fear of new food, is the major factor stopping people from eating insects.

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