The key to success, producers say, is to create a burger that looks nice and doesn’t show any worm parts.
What makes a good burger? Most people would probably say it’s good meat. Vegetarians would argue that you don’t need meat to eat a good burger, and I can confirm — I’ve had my share of delicious, meatless burgers. At the end of the day, the actual ingredients matter less; what we want is a burger that tastes good.
But what if it were made from worms?
Germany start-up Bugfoundation produces burgers made from buffalo worms, which are already being sold for both animal and human consumption. Baris Özel, the co-founder of the start-up that, says he worked on the idea for four years. Along with fellow co-founder Max Krämer, the two were inspired by South-Eastern Asian culture, where it’s not uncommon to eat insects.
“It’s quite simple. You have to create an aesthetic product that looks good and doesn’t show any insects,” Özel told The Guardian, adding that people were attracted by the smell of the burgers. But not everyone is sure about them.
The burger, served with lettuce, onions, and tomatoes, is on offer in supermarkets in the German city of Aachen. The product has already proven popular in the Netherlands (where the worms are bred) and Belgium. Buffalo worms (which are essentially the larvae of buffalo beetles) are a rich source of protein and healthy fats, iron, and calcium. Nutritionally, the worms are arguably healthier than most other meats available on the market, though the long-term effect of eating worms haven’t been studied in great depth. But for most people, the “wow” factor — or conversely, the “yuck” factor — is what’s decisive, not the nutritional factsheet or environmental impact. After all, you’re eating insect larvae.
“We have people who are totally thrilled to find out about the whole thing and have been looking forward to it for days,” said supermarket manager Michael Reinartz. “And we have people who say, ‘you’re not seriously doing that?’”
But reportedly, the burgers smell and taste good, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone if the idea starts catching on, and worm burgers might soon show up in a supermarket near you. How would you feel, would you try it, at least once?