Early bird gets the worm…burger.
Another week, another group trying very hard to convince us that using an unusual protein as the base of a burger patty is gonna be the next big thing. (Reference material: the hot and juicy rat burger.)
This time around, that group hails from Switzerland, and that unusual protein is none other than mealworms. According to GrubStreet, a new partnership between gigantic European food wholesaler Coop and small up-and-comer Essento, which has tasked itself with the noble but certainly challenging role of making insects a popular food ingredient for the masses, will pave the way for a series of burgers and meatballs created out of lowly mealworms.
As you can probably imagine, most customers aren’t exactly thrilled about the idea of lining up for a taste of a medium-rare worm burger. But Christian Bärtsch, a co-founder of Essento, told Business Insider that the goal for combatting any initial hesitation is to do whatever possible to make the protein “taste and look as close to beef as possible.” (An easier solution might just be to use beef, which already conveniently tastes and looks as close to beef possible.)
If the worm burger can manage relative success, Essento hopes to eventually introduce a full range of other insect-inspired meat alternatives down the line.
While it’s easy to make jokes about this venture, the nutritional benefits of mealworms as a protein source cannot be overstated. While many people know that crickets pack a real protein much, they might not realize that mealworms fare just as well in a portion-to-protein breakdown.
But is nutrition enough to convince customers that mealworm patties deserves a place on their shopping list? Time will tell. In the meantime we’ll continue ordering our burgers medium-rare.
Hold the mealworm.
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