Beetleburgers could soon reach mass production — helping to feed the world

“Mixed with sugar, the beetles supposedly taste just like real meat. They could also become alternatives to sausages or chicken nuggets.”

PARIS — Beetleburgers could soon be helping to feed the world, according to new research. The creepy crawlers’ larvae — better known as mealworms — could act as a meat alternative to alleviate hunger worldwide. The process uses a fraction of the land and water and emits a smaller carbon footprint in comparison of traditional farming.

To make this a reality, French biotech company Ynsect is planning a global network of insect farms, including nurseries and slaughterhouses. A pilot plant has already been been set up at Dole in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comte region of France.

Unlike the livestock industry, where rearing is typically separate, this entire bug-based operation is under one roof.

“We are in full control of the chain of production. That gives us strength in terms of quality, security and safety,” says Benjamin Armenjon, general manager of Ynsect, according to a statement from SWNS.

Robot arms and automated conveyor belts transport stacks of red trays in every direction. They are are filled with billions of Tenebrio molitor beetle larvae. The dried critters are more than 50 percent protein and rich in fiber and fats as well.

Trays of mealworms
The mealworm production line at insect food company Ynsect.

They can be turned into protein powders, shakes, burgers, cereal bars, and even cooking oils at a fraction of the environmental cost of traditional farming. For every one kilogram of protein, Ynsect uses 98 percent less land and emits 40 times less carbon than beef. It also uses 40 times less water than pork production.

The mealworms are fed byproducts from wheat processing. Mixed with sugar, the beetles supposedly taste just like real meat. They could also become alternatives to sausages or chicken nuggets.

The firm is experimenting with optimal conditions for mass production — such as food,
temperature, and humidity — at its Paris headquarters.

Ynsect researchers are also analyzing nutritional content and the potential of using other insects. A bigger factory is opening in Amiens later this year. It will manufacture 200,000 tons of insect-based foods a year, making it the world’s biggest insect farm.

The ambitious project will bring costs down to compete with rivals churning out soy and veggie burgers.

ground mealworm powder
Insect derived meal from Ynsect.

Estimates project that the human population will reach almost 10 billion by 2050. Meat is basically protein, fat, and water. There is growing demand for resource-intensive, animal-based products. However, food insecure regions are in desperate need of more options.

Researchers believe climate change will have significant implications for diet and nutrition in the future. Eating insects has become a trending topic because of the increasing cost of animal protein, as well as the associated environmental issues.

Consuming cows, pigs, and sheep requires large amounts of food, water, and land. Beetles, on the other hand, are edible, nutritious, and much more sustainable. In many countries, munching on them fills people with revulsion. Some manufacturers are selling cooked mealworms as crunchy, salty snacks, but acceptance is not widespread.

Ynsect makes chemical fertilizers for plants, pet food, and farm feeds for pigs and chickens. However, mealworms were approved for human consumption in the European Union in 2021. The company expects the market to grow rapidly in the coming years.

The company says it hopes to open 15 such factories by 2030, including the world’s largest insect
farm in Amiens, France. In December, the United Kingdom announced a $19 million competition to find low-emission ways to produce food. Insects may be a large part of the solution.

“Insect protein is just going to grow in terms of the acceptance of it and how many people eat it – the market will grow and develop,” says Olivia Champion of Entec Nutrition, an insect-based animal feed company in the U.K.

Success will depend in large part on the form in which people consume the insect-based food, Champion adds.

A burger with insect protein in it is likely to be more palatable to consumers than fried
whole mealworms, for instance. Ynsect believes with enough education, cultural attitudes will shift over time. Armenjon sees insects as part of an alternative meat ecosystem, with some people eating lab-grown meat and others sticking to plant-based alternatives. However, he hopes some will choose insect-based foods.

“There are vegan people, flexitarians, vegetarians, meat lovers – this is fine, we don’t want to change people,” Armenjon tells SWNS.

South West News Service writer Mark Waghorn contributed to this report. 

Comments

  1. Not only no, but hell no. … And of course they think the solution is adding sugar to everything. Haven’t people wised up yet? The sugar industry lied and paid off researchers to falsify data so that sugar could be added to just about everything. For about 60 years we have been living with lies when it comes to nutrition.

  2. This is both disgusting and disturbing, and will never be mass adopted as long as I have any say, which I intent to have, especially when it comes to my, and my communities food!

    I have a much better idea. How about the governments of the world, stop sabotaging our food sources and kneecapping our farmers, and let them do their jobs! You people supporting this twisted ideology and its mechanisms, should be in an asylum, where you can do no more harm to our environment or the worlds population in general.

    Disgraceful!

  3. Guess what mealworms eat? Grain, wheat bran & the like. Very expensive food for very little return. I use mealworms to catch food.

    1. It’s wonderful that these worms have so much protein. And it’s great that meat is basically just protein and fat and water. But are the worms healthy for human bodies to digest? Is it heart healthy? When the top 5% of the French economy are eating mealworms daily, I might try it. I want to see some pretty creative cookbooks. Gordon Ramsay, get busy.

  4. Not only is this disgusting, but it lacks immense nutrition value for humans. Humans are not meant to eat bugs or even produce, for that fact. If we were, we would have been born with 3 or 4 stomachs, being a ruminant or a pseudo. We are neither. It is scientific that bugs and plants produce a toxin which destroys any nutritional value to humans.

    Studies today lack proper scientific knowledge and actual studying to provide legitimate information to back up their claims. They no longer do the proper testing or even enough rat/human experiment. A few hundred isn’t proper. In the past, we did experiments on thousands.

  5. Absolutely fuckery. They never like cows. This carbon foot print thing is going put a lot of people in the soil before time thus adding to the carbon pool anyway.

  6. OR, instead of resorting to eating bugs, we reduce the surplus population by half eliminate all the problems we face as a species

    1. Like the vaccine is doing now? We can handle millions more. It is money hungry people in power that refuses to take the steps we need. Fuel can easily be created by algae. The issues we have with farm animals and the environment is strictly due to the federal regulations.

  7. Are you really that stupid? Remember when they tried to force us to eat ostrich meat or algae? I don’t but I remember them trying to find a market. Nobody is forcing anything. Vote with your wallet and don’t buy what you don’t like. And stop making up stupid conservative bullshit.

  8. Don’t eat this I warn all of you it’s disgusting and it’s not a good to digest this worm. It will kill you,God didn’t put this in the Garden.

  9. I will have mine well done with grilled onions, hold the relish. Oh and toast the buns…..my beef burger, that is. You fools, worms are for fishing or to feed the liberals.

    1. People have been eating these and other ‘proteins’ for centuries. Ants, tarantulas, termites.. God forbid any one of the mental midgets commenting here should get out of their cocoons and venture past their Starbucks.

  10. Now it’s just a matter of making beef, pork and chicken, too expensive for regular people. They’re well on their way. Is this on the menu for lunch at Davos, do you suppose?

  11. As disgusting and revolting as this food source sounds to me, I’m fine with it. If we can find a way to feed more people and recycle a byproduct that normally would go to waste, then I think this is a terrific idea. With that said, it should NOT be forced onto people as a replacement for current food sources. It should be an option, just like the veggie burgers are an option, not mandatory. But for people who are skin and bones, who have not had a nourishing meal in months, if not years, I would bet that eating a burger made of meal worm flower sounds more appealing than starvation. And for people who have food insecurity, not sure where their next meal is coming from, if this is an affordable option for them, it should be available for them. Options, especially options to stave off starvation for the masses, are fantastic. Forcing something like this upon people, claiming it’s better for the environment and the whole, is not. This food source isn’t something that I would voluntarily eat, but I’m also not starving to death, or even remotely close to being chronically hungry. If I were, starving, if I were facing being chronically malnourished, this would be something I would be willing to eat.

    1. Then start eating it. Absolutely disgusting that you think only poor people and people in third world countries deserve bugs to eat while you dine like royalty. Privileged much?

  12. Absolutely not! The gub’t’s of the world need to be stopped. And i suggest we start with “Vendicar Decarian”…. Dude i would so waste you…. I’d hit you so hard your close would be out of style by the time you stopped rolling. You bug eating varmit!

  13. Two consumer groups who are not going to look on this with disgust are dogs and cats. In fact you can buy insect based dog food in the U.S. (made from crickets, just google jiminy’s dog food) and cat food in U.K. (just google love bug cat food). If you can convince people to feed their pets insect based food, that will leave more pigs, cows and chickens for all the people who don’t want to give up meat. Might be a way to get added value out of a product that is just going to decay anyway.

    1. I would love to try an insect burger. I don’t even care what type of insect as long as it tastes good. I’m an adventurous eater and if it’s comparable in cost and taste satisfaction I would absolutely make it a part of my diet happily. Wish it were the U.S.

      1. I’m all for it without the sugar. I’ve known for decades insects would become part of the world food source. Their one of the most nutritional organisms on the planet. With that said I still believe in freedom of choice.

    1. There is no way I’m going to eat insects or insect larvae. Send that crap out to California and let Gavin Newsome eat them at the French Laundry.

  14. The WEF launches their summit the same week this article is released. I’m sure its pure coincidence. Which “new system” is this on the agenda?

      1. Your ignorance as to what is happening in the world makes us all laugh and cry because so many are like you. How many recordings do you need to hear and see to know that most of this stuff is planned to control the masses. Schwab (WEF) has been speaking out against people owning anything for years and says that is the goal. Gates has said time and again the world is overpopulated and he is buying up farmland and not allowing food to be grown. The Pandemic was talked about over 5 years ago and not more and more scientific evidence is coming out on how the “vaccines” are causing real issues.
        The fact that you think these people have your best interests in mind is just baffling how someone can be so ignorant.

        1. Conservatives are completely terrified of anything different. All over the comments here melting and triggered over beatles.

        2. Every conservative accusation is a confession… If the right projected any harder you’d see this on the moon.

          1. This comment is pure gas lighting. Doing what you accuse your opponent of doing is a radical move not a conservative one. Try again.

          2. Astonishing how people can be so blind. When Big Brother is telling you exactly what they’re going to do you call it a conspiracy theory by others.

  15. Fantastic ! For those who choose to indulge….Go for it. But what an opportunity for
    feeding all the undernourished in the 3rd/4rth world. As for reparations levied against the rest of the world, they having caused all that undernourishment, all the qualifying countries should have this tech transferred to them for free. Plus training of locals to run it. And maybe a bit of
    working capital for initial operational startup. Win-win !

    1. I DON’T care. Shove the bugs down YOUR throat and indulge I will keep eating my Rib Eye juicy steak. Let the frogs eat bugs.

    2. Most developing world,India which is the 2nd most populous country(1.3billion population) they are vegetarian,!I doubt they consider this food worm. Other North Africans are Muslims and would mot consider eating Non-Halal food! Could be marketed to Wast Asia, China, Caribbean, South America markets but it has to be a for sable for them!!

    3. Most under developed world,India which is the 2nd most populous country(1.3billion population) they are vegetarian,!I doubt they would consider this food worms 🪱 meals. Other North Africans are Muslims and would not consider eating Non-Halal foods and meats! Could be marketed to far east Asia, China, Caribbean, central, and South American markets but it has to be an affordable for them!!

  16. Of course these bugs are safe to eat and delicious. Now that you’re fully vax’d and boosted, you’ll live to enjoy these bug burgers.

    1. Sure. Worth trying IMO.

      Cows and pigs aren’t much different than Cats and Dogs. They play, they experience joy, and dread, and fear, and hope, and contentment, and pain.

      Why engage in animal abuse unnecessarily?

      1. Don’t look at how predators survive in nature… Man know enough to make efforts to be humane, but other predators chase, catch, rip, tear, and mercilessly kill other animals to survive.

      2. Because cows and pigs are tasty critters. So are chickens and turkeys. Ducks and geese. Deer and others….

        1. So if you raise your kid to take a beating, that’s also not abuse, eh?

          I’m no vegan, but the conditions that factory farming impose are hellish.

      3. I hunt for my meat every winter. I have two deer and one turkey in my deep freeze. Seethe, privileged brat. 🤣🙋🏻‍♀️

  17. I have a feeling Bill & Gates has a hand in this . If there is anything Obama ,Biden & Covid taught us it’s that Globalization & wokeism = BAD ! Trump , as polarizing as he may be ,had us on track . Lots of work ahead if we are to re industrialize Western Nations and re-define our cultures and borders ! If not ,we are doomed. Those worms look like excellent bait for fish & I’m not crazy about fish but I’ll eat cooked fish over bugs anyday!

  18. The book of Leviticus is very clear on what we’re suppose to consume. Anything else is an abomination to God. Therefore, study to show yourself approved.

  19. Smaller carbon footprint? That sort of talk is complete nonsense when it comes to food production. I can’t believe how stupid people are. It’s staggering.

    1. Too much booze and you might find yourself tossing a salad… and I am not talking about ICEBERG or ROMAINE lettuce.

  20. Have at it- I’ll stick with a good old fashioned Beef or Bison Burger. And the fact that they cost the same as the Soy based burgers- which are more expensive than real burgers makes one wonder on the true reason for this push.

    1. The true reason is environmental sustainability.

      Looks like your reading comprehension skills are American poor.

        1. Absolutely correct…….a posse of pencil-necked control freaks hell bent on telling the world how to live ……… drink recycled urine and dine on insects.
          Wonder how many private jets are parked in Davos this year.
          The entire sick tribe of geeks protected by an armed force of 5,000 mercenaries.

    1. Yup. And we are sending the police to take your gas stove, and adding chemicals to the water to make your children trans.

      You done did reads all abouts it on da faux news.

      1. Seriously. Why don’t you just listen to what your overlords are telling you. We’re not the ones saying this stuff: Schwab, Gates etc are the ones telling you this. Wake up.

      2. Go eat the bugs then, why so snarky? Lead by example, why do the left push for crazy ideas that they themselves dont practice. Are your cupards Nick stocked with crickets and mealworms? No, but you sure are willing to push others to do it.

    2. Don’t be a reject. Your stupid Rep vs Dem shit is getting old. I’m definitely not either party, because you all are falling in line to what the devil worshiping elite wanted you to do. Rather than band together and be a force of reckoning, you’re at each other’s throats. A divided nation FALLS. STOP falling in line! Fight them like men.

      1. No joke- if I had to kill and dress my own cow under the condition it was the only way to be allowed to continue eating meat, I’d do it. I’m more distressed about the thought of the culinary limitations of plant based diets (I’ve tried. You need to MSG the hell out of everything to make it remotely umame). Flavor is far more important than ethics and health for me, but a good cashew cream can come close sometimes on fresh broccoli with wild rice.

        I love cooking, but only under the pretense that what I’m making tastes good. If it needs meat or MSG, I’ll do it.

        1. I worked in a sheep slaughter house for 15 years and 90 percent of our meat gets exported around the world we process 15,000 sheep a week all year round, people love lamb chops ,roast etc ,,

      2. Vegans and soy latte lefties are already used to eating bugs, they will be suprised how many bugs get grinded up in their tofu, artesian breads, and kale salads.

        1. Okay, as if hot dogs and burgers don’t contain a good amount of ground up bugs. Your argument just proves your missing the point.

  21. Mealworms eat grain — which humans eat.
    Livestock eats grass and hay which humans can’t eat.
    This is higher profits for big business.

    1. Ah, look. Another American who can’t read.

      “The mealworms are fed byproducts from wheat processing” – article.

      I bet you can’t add or subtract either.

      1. I’ll bet you can’t tell the difference between boys and girls but I’m sure you’d be happy grooming either….

      2. What great country are you from, that you put down the greatest country that ever existed? Without the USA, the entire world would be speaking German. I only want to hear thank you from your arrogant ass.

      3. It’s ok that you hate us. We don’t care Ven-dick-ar. We are the US of A and we are the super power, super rich that gives your country money to survive or at least compete. You love us. Remember that while you enjoy your freedom of speech and open borders for now. Have you ever been here? I didn’t think so. 😉

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