DISGUSTING, THE FOOD OF THE FUTURE, OR THE BEST BUSINESS IDEA?
Increasingly stronger and longer dry periods are clearly already affecting food processing. A lack of all kinds of fruits and vegetables is therefore very likely. Modern food trends, as well as the return of man to (now destroyed) nature, are also significant. There are also demands to abandon cattle breeding, which are becoming louder, but at the same time we must not forget that with a lack of food for humans, there would also be a lack of feed for domestic animals.
That's also why new business ideas: Mealworms. Yes, you read that right, the food idea of the future is mealworms. It probably sounds disgusting to most of us from today's point of view, but...
While mealworms are mostly used as pet snack supplements or fishing baits, they also have great potential as a source of human nutrition.
When I say mealworms, we are actually talking about the larvae of the mealworm beetle, Tenebrio Molitor, a type of Darkling beetle. Like all holometabolous insects, these worms go through four life stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult. Larvae usually measure about 2.5 cm or more, while adults are usually between 1.25 and 1.8 cm long.
Scientists have discovered that insects can be turned into meat-like flavors, helping to provide a more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional meat dishes. Researchers boiled mealworms, the larva of the yellow mealworm beetle, with sugar and discovered that the result was a meat-like flavor that could be used as an alternative source of protein. Basically, meat is nothing but water, fat and protein.
They have a taste comparable to meat, but are without harmful effects on the climate. "Insects are a nutritious and healthy food source with large amounts of fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, fiber and high-quality meat-like proteins," says In Hee Cho, a researcher at Wonkwang University in South Korea who led the study. He added that edible insects such as mealworms and crickets are superfoods that have long been enjoyed in Asia, Africa and South America.
Although for now it appears that people in Europe and North America are generally more reserved about eating insects, despite recent calls by several restaurants and some retail chains to offer consumers a choice of insects, the market for worms is still growing slowly but surely.
Researchers hope that using mealworms with meat flavoring can help bridge this gap. A new study to be presented this week at the American Chemical Society found that flavors were released when mealworms were heated with sugars, with the proteins and sugars interacting to caramelize into a range of meat-like flavors. Different cooking methods produced different results, the researchers found.
Steamed mealworms give off an aroma similar to sweet corn, while roasted and deep-fried versions are more shrimp-like. A group of volunteers participated in sniff tests to determine which prepared products resembled meat the most.
Global food production is responsible for about a third of all greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere, with the majority of these emissions coming from livestock farming. Livestock grazing and feeding takes up about 80 percent of the Earth's agricultural land, and the situation is greatly worsened by massive deforestation to gain additional grazing land.
Avoiding meat and dairy products is the best way to reduce the environmental impact on the planet, scientists say, although meat-eating remains popular in the West and is now gaining ground among the emerging wealthy class in China and India. Insects, which can be grown in large numbers in small spaces with a fraction of the emissions compared to traditional livestock farming, have been identified by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization as a potentially valuable source of protein to feed a growing world population expected to exceed nine billion people by 2050 and 11 billion by 2100.
So is the idea of mealworms disgusting, is this really the food of the future, or could growing mealworms for food be the idea of the future? Perhaps we should put the answer to this question in the context of when and if there will be scarcity, but perhaps this is indeed an idea that will help new business leaders succeed.