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Bug burgers or bug balls? Insect eating goes legal in Switzerland

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Mealworms, crickets and grasshoppers can now be served up in restaurants and sold in supermarkets, thanks to new laws. (Julie Hunt/SRF)

The food safety regulations bringing Switzerland into line with the European Union come into effect on May 1. Up until now, these insects could only be sold as pet food.

A United Nations report from 2013 assessing insects’ uses as food for humans may have influenced the Swiss government to change the law. The UN believes bugs should be exploited as a major future food source.

Insects make up a part of the traditional diets of about two billion people, mostly in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Studies show that they contain significantly less saturated fats and more protein than meat and can be more sustainably produced.

swissinfo.chexternal link visited the start-up Essento, which will be supplying insect balls and insect burgers to one of Switzerland’s largest supermarket chains, Coop, to find out if insect-eating is more than just a fad.