Would you eat margarine made out of... mealworms?
Spend enough time researching non-mammal meat alternatives, and you’ll end up in the world of insects. These crunchy critters are oftentimes billed as superfoods — abundant, protein-packed, and also capable of providing other foodstuffs. (Cockroach milk, anyone?) So it’s not altogether that surprising that the latest in insect food innovation might be from margarine made out of mealworms.
In a report published in Inform Magazine (don’t open that link if you’re not prepared for a giant close-up of mealworms), three mad scientists make the case for using mealworms as a fat source, particularly in the application of margarine. The worms, which I once raised in elementary school, are a good source of fat, and have little to no saturated fat and trans fat, which is the stuff that red meat in particular is chock full of. These little worms are much easier and cheaper to raise than whole livestock animals, though scaling up protein production for mealworms or any other kind of insect for a national market would still be a daunting task.
To be clear, this report is making the case for mealworm margarine, not saying that this is coming to grocery shelves anytime soon. But the truth is, that disgust you feel is only because of the mental image of the mealworm itself — after all, as Refinery29 noted in their write-up of the news, insect fats are already a part of our more familiar food chains, as they’re sometimes used in animal feed.
Still grossed out? We get it, but most of us understand that the meat industry as is probably can’t go on very much longer. And after that, perhaps eating mealworm margarine will be the least freaky foodstuff in our day.