This story was originally published by the Guardian and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
Insects can be turned into meat-like flavors, helping provide a more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional meat options, scientists have discovered.
Mealworms, the larval form of the yellow mealworm beetle, have been cooked with sugar by researchers who found that the result is a meat-like flavoring that could one day be used on convenience food as a source of protein.
While mealworms have until now mostly been used as snacks for pets or as bait while fishing, they have potential as a food source for humans to help get the recognizable flavors of meat without the harmful impacts upon the climate, as well as direct air and water pollution, of raising beef, pork and other animal-based foods.
“Insects are a nutritious and healthy food source with high amounts of fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, fiber and high-quality protein, which is like that of meat,” says In Hee Cho, a researcher at Wonkwang University in South Korea who led the study.
“Many consumers seriously like and need animal protein in our diet. However, traditional livestock farming produces more greenhouse gas emissions than cars do. On the other hand, insect farming requires just a fraction of the land, water and feed in comparison to traditional livestock farming.”
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