Love chowing down on a juicy steak? You could soon be digging your knife and fork into a steak-like dish of a different sort. One made out of maggots. Yum.
Researchers from the University of Queensland in Australia are exploring how maggots, locusts and other proteins might be used or added to foods.
According to lead researcher Louwrens Hoffman, traditional livestock will not be able to meet the demand for meat in the future. That is why he investigating other alternatives.
“An overpopulated world is going to struggle to find enough protein unless people are willing to open their minds, and stomachs, to a much broader notion of food,” he said in a statement. “In other words, insect protein needs to be incorporated into existing food products as an ingredient ... The biggest potential for sustainable protein production lies with insects and new plant sources.”
So far, he has examined maggots as a source of protein for chicken and sausage production as well as kangaroo meat. He even revealed one of his students “has created a very tasty insect ice-cream.”
He also said broiler chicken diets that include up to 15% of larvae meat don’t compromise chicken production, flavor, juiciness or tenderness.
However, Hoffman noted studies have shown that Western consumers were not willing to try insect-based foods unless the bugs were processed and disguised.
Eating bugs for dinner might be foreign to Western cultures, but its common in other parts of the world. More than 2 billion people around the world, including in Africa and Thailand, eat bugs regularly, according to previous studies.
“There needs to be a better understanding of the difference between animal feed and human food,” Hoffman said, “and a global reappraisal of what can constitute healthy, nutritional and safe food for all.”