Insect snacks coming to Dutch supermarkets
One of the Netherlands’ largest supermarket chains is pioneering the way to more adventurous diets - by rolling out a range of insect-based meals and snacks. These products, Jumbo explains, will offer customers a sustainable and healthy alternative to meat and fish.
Bug balls, bug burgers and bug crisps
Jumbo’s insect-based range is already on sale in Groningen and Haren, and will be available in a further 400 stores across the Netherlands by early 2015.
So far, the assortment includes meal-worm burgers, moth larvae crisps - salt or paprika flavoured, your choice - and bug balls. Prices range from 5,95 euros to 6,79 euros per portion.
Customers in Haren and Groningen were invited to participate in bug "tastings", allowing them to sample the range and familiarise themselves with this new dietary addition.
Not a gimmick
The thought of chomping on moths and worms may be met by most with horror, disbelief and shudders of disgust. However, incorporating insects into regular diets is increasingly considered a sound solution for the unsustainable demand on conventional food sources.
For one, insects are rich in protein and low in fat. Consumption of bugs could become a healthy alternative in light of increasing levels of obesity in the Netherlands.
Aside from their nutritional qualities, insects are a relatively environmentally-friendly food source. They require less water, less land, less food and produce less manure than other protein-rich creatures commonly found in our diets.
Two billion already eating insects
Whilst eating bugs may strike most people as radically adventurous, or as a novelty gimmick, it seems here in the West we are coming late to the creepy-crawly game. Two billion of the world's population already consume insects as part of their regular diet.
Entomophagy, the consumption of insects as food, has been recorded across Africa, Asia, the Americas and even in some European countries.
The UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) report on edible insects in 2013 encouraged the consumption of bugs.In the report, the FAO urged the West to "get over" its phobia of eating insects, for the sake of global food security.
Will the Dutch eat insects?
Marcel Dicke, professor of entomology at Wageningen University and author of an insect-based cookbook, has conducted research into Dutch attitudes on consuming insects.
According to his findings the Dutch are ready to bravely diversify their diets, with 70 per cent saying they would "definitely" or "maybe" eat bugs, and only 30 per cent ruling it out completely.
In Belgium, supermarkets Carrefour and Delhaize are already selling insect meals and snacks.
It remains to be seen if Dutch consumers will embrace a bug-friendly diet.