We’ve heard a lot about how we should be eating insects for high quality protein and the species being one of the most sustainable sources of food imaginable.
The Food and Agriculture Office of the United Nations states that bug are a sustainable and ecological food source, and insects emit less greenhouse gas and ammonia than conventional livestock. According to Fortune magazine, more than 25 startups offering products containing insects have launched in the US and Canada in the past few years.
Over in Switzerland there seems to be a lot less 'ick' factor and the country’s federal food safety office (BLV) said it was simplifying the system for unusual foodstuffs such as insect-based products that until now could not be sold without special authorization. Beginning May 1st, 2017, any food product can be sold commercially as long as it respects food safety regulations. A welcome invitation for bugs and Coop – the Swiss supermarket chain which dominates marketshare after the announcement quickly said it would be putting insect-based products on its shelves next spring.
Here’s what makes this interesting. Coop is working with a Swiss start up Essento, which specializes in developing insect-based dishes, to create a range of “surprising” products containing insect proteins, including meatballs and burgers. That’s not what’s interesting, although I would suggest that many US based supermarkets aren’t ready to make the same commitment – yet I do remember canned chocolate covered ants being sold in my Food Fair in Nutley, NJ when I was a kid.
It’s what Coop said in their public statement that is game changing. Coop spokesman Roland Frefel said that adding certain varieties of insects to processed products would allow customers to “discover a new world of flavors” – Wow! A different take on marketing that could just be the key to breaking down barriers, especially for Millennials and Gen Z. Push the sustainability and affordability messages to the back – and highlight the flavor of different insects. I can just see, and taste, our new product reviews now.