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Kids Prefer Mealworms to Grasshoppers When Its Comes To Eating Bugs

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Insects are a sustainable, climate-friendly food source. But what will it take for us to begin eating them? 188 Danish 11- and 12-year-old children have rolled and eaten their own mealworm and grasshopper fortified oatmeal balls as part of a University of Copenhagen research project. The project aims to explore what it will take to shift our eating habits in a more climate friendly direction. The experiment demonstrates that some insects have a greater yuck factor than others — and that mealworms might be our best bet for an insect-protein rich dietary future.Foto: Charikleia Karagiannaki

188 Danish 5th and 6th grade students recently made havregrynskugler — golf ball-sized oatmeal balls — using either roasted mealworms or grasshoppers. Prior to being rolled into balls of oatmeal, peanut butter and butter, the mealworms needed to be crushed.

Grasshoppers, on the other hand, needed to have their wings and legs peeled off before being chopped up and combined with these same ingredients. Before being called into action, the children listened to a lecture by University of Copenhagen researchers about the potential of using insects as a climate-friendly food of the future.

The researchers recorded the children’s reactions, hypothesizing that having the young ones make their havregrynskugler would have a positive impact on their overall assessment.

“As it turned out, this had no significance for whether they liked the food or not. What was significant was whether the insects appeared to be gross or not — whether they had wings, eyes, etc., as was the case with grasshoppers. Ultimately, the mealworms were the critter of choice, as they most resembled and tasted like roasted sunflower seeds,” says Associate Professor Michael Bom Frøst of the Department of Food Science, who is behind the project. He adds:

“We could also see that the children who were most courageous to try new foods, were the ones who liked insects most. This confirms what we know about adult attitudes towards insects.”

Foto: Charikleia Karagiannaki

We need to change our eating habits… Now!

Mealworms and grasshoppers are both EU-approved production insects. While insects are a sustainable and climate-friendly food source, the consumption of insects is a far cry from any Danish culinary tradition. Indeed, there is a way to go before bugs become a go-to dietary choice among Danes, as addressed by the researchers:

“Our eating habits must shift drastically if we hope to achieve a 70 percent reduction of our impact on the climate by 2030, as the government has promised. But we can’t get people to eat in a more climate-friendly manner if they don’t like the food. This is why we’re researching the barriers between consumers and climate-friendly consumption — as is the case with swapping out meat for insects, for example,” says Michael Bom Frøst.

The research project with the children is part of a larger initiative at the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Food Science which is striving to generate more knowledge about what it will take for Danes to adopt new, more climate-friendly foods.

“We’re committed to developing the foods of tomorrow, foods that are both climate-friendly and tasty. That’s why we work so much with sensory perceptions, to see what might make it easier for people to adopt new foods and ingredients. Among other things, the experiment with the children demonstrated that it takes more than being involved in the preparation of a new food,” concludes Michael Bom Frøst.

The research results are now published in the scientific journal Food Quality and Preference. The research is funded by Innovation Fund Denmark, through the InValuable project, and by Nordeafonden, through Taste for Life.



Contacts and sources: 

Faculty of Science University of Copenhagen







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    • Everette

      This is a damn shame to think we are at a point we have to eat bugs , guts , poop and all . What angers me so much is the way climate change is portrayed . It is a lie from hell ! Cows pooping and humans breathing are not the cause of this climate change nor could it ever be ! The true reason is in 2011 earth was hit with a CME that altered the earths tilt. From what used to be 23 1/2 degrees to almost 50% now . And each year we are tilting more each year as the magnetic North Pole is head towards Siberia about 50 miles a year . Florida has had to recalibrate for this to keep the planes from landing in the ocean . Go out side on a clear night and locate the Little Dipper that use to have the star that set over santa’s house at the nort pole . It is now going or moving east to west every night . And the reason now for our food shortages is the elites have had the FDA pay farmers not to grow food . When Bill Gates 2006 patented bio Weapon covid hit and restraints were shut down the elites had FDA tell the farmers to plow under their crops and kill off the live stock . Why because the restraints could not sell the food . So these people going to the restraints died of starvation because they did not go to the grocery stores and buy food to cook . If you believe that damn lie let me sell you ocean front property in Arzonia . They also told the stores not to order but 1/3 of the food they use to order . The food shortage is a created PLANdimic just like Bill Gates bio…

    • Razor

      So THIS is what the COMMUNIST CHINESE intend to feed their SLAVE CITIZENS with. WOW?…….so the COMMUNIST EATS BUGS!…who knew?……WOW???…..BUG EATERS!………Incredible! Explains the EXTREME LOW IQ and the LACK of intellectual thinking. ……YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT!…So the CHINESE are BUGS!……WOW!……..AMAZING!……explains EVERYTHING!

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