Can of mealworms: Belgium starts selling products made with insects

Can of mealworms: Belgium starts selling products made with insects
A Belgian supermarket has officially started selling a range of products that contain insects, mainly mealworms. The country is the first EU state to approve insects in food.

For now, customers of the Belgian food retailer, Delhaize, are being offered two varieties of spread based on mealworms: with tomatoes or carrots.

Called “Green Bugs”, the brand-new food looks nothing like traditional insects, which for example Thai people traditionally sell and eat as a snack.

It may be a can of worms, but there are no visible parts of mealworms and nothing is moving. In fact, each product has between 4 and 6 percent insect content. The carrot spread is 4 percent worms, while the tomato version has 6 percent.

"Mealworms are chopped very well; it is not possible to see them with the naked eye," said Delhaize.

Cans of “Green Bugs” spread look more like baby food or mashed vegetables.

“Products made from insects are trending at the moment, and Delhaize wants to reaffirm its role as a pioneer in the field of food retailing,” said spokesperson Roel Dekelver, as cited by Flanders Today.

The spreads cost €3.45 ($4.45) for 125 grams (4.40 oz).

Belgian food producer Damhert has also created an alternative to meat-based food. Its product called Insecta offers schnitzel burgers and nuggets based on buffalo worms. It will be available in stores starting October 1, with the exception of three supermarkets: Colruyt, Aldi and Lidl.

The buffalo worm was one of 10 insect species Belgium’s federal food safety agency authorized for human consumption back in 2013, when it became the first EU country to embrace insect produce.

Both buffalo worms and mealworms are beetle larvae.

“There’s nothing you can see to suggest there are insects in the product,” assured Lisa Lamorgese of Damhert. “The worms are first freeze-dried and then ground up. The rest of the process is identical to the use of other meat substitutes.”