Science - May 19, 2010

Muesli bar worms its way to become top insect snack

A muesli bar with mealworms has been voted as the tastiest insect snack on Tuesday evening. The insect snack poll was conducted by the Dutch Insect Breeders' Collective (Venik) during the Spinoza te Paard lecture delivered by Professor Marcel Dicke of Entomology in the Paard van Troje in The Hague. Among the issues covered was how insects can benefit human beings as food.

The winning insect snack
'Everything was finished', says Marian Peters of Venik enthusiastically. 'Everyone tasted the insect snacks. The muesli bar received more than 50 percent of the votes to become the tastiest of all.' This sweet cereal bar faced competition from, among others, the savoury 'bug nugget', a little ball of ground mealworms which is also very delicious, says Peters. 'The best part was that many people thought it was a pity that the insects were no longer recognizable as such in the snacks', says Dicke. 'I think that people are more open to eating insects than it seems. We have reached a turning point, and the consumer realizes that apart from those weird scientists, companies and the ministry too are viewing insects seriously as food.
Seduce
Dicke expects the winning muesli bar to be on sale in supermarkets about a year from now. While it is a sustainable product, Peters questions the extent to which this aspect would motivate the consumer to buy it. 'One thing's clear to me anyway', she says. 'Sustainability is a nice call for the policy makers and a money spinner, but it hardly affects the consumer, who would not opt for insects because of sustainability. You would have to seduce him by making the product attractive and tasty.'

Re:act