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Meal, worms Insect balls and burgers go on sale in Switzerland

insect burgers

Which one is the insect burger? They both are.

(Tina Sturzenegger)

Edible insects have made their debut on Swiss supermarket shelves. The selection includes burgers and balls made with mealworms. 

On Monday, Swiss retailer Coop introduced the new products at seven of its larger branches around the country: in Basel, Bern, Geneva, Lausanne, Lugano, Zurich and Winterthur. The insect burgers and balls – produced by Swiss start-up firm Essentoexternal link – are also available online via the Coop online storeexternal link

The burgers feature a mix of mealworms, rice, vegetables like carrots and celery, and spices. The balls are made with mealworms, chick peas, onions, garlic and spices. 

Selling insect products as food became legal in Switzerland on May 1. So far, three species are permitted: mealworms, crickets and grasshoppers. Proponents say in addition to their nutritional value, insects are far more sustainable than other types of meat. 

Essento, based in Zurich, has published a cookbook with insect recipes, and the company hosts insect dinners and cookery courses. Coop is the first supermarket to sell insect-based foods.

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