German Shoppers Can Now Buy ‘Hamburger Meat’ Made Of Buffalo Worms

The protein-filled larvae may some day be an alternative to regular meat.

Germans can now eat worm burgers
Left: Brent Hofacker, Right: Ollyy / AP Images

The protein-filled larvae may some day be an alternative to regular meat.

German supermarket shoppers were given the opportunity to try a new “meat” last week, and although it may sound unappetizing at first, early reviews are that it’s actually pretty good. The meat? Buffalo worms.

As Reuters reports, if you were given a sample of the new form of hamburger, made from the ground-up larvae of the buffalo beetle, you might not have known what you were eating. Fortunately, shoppers in the German city of Aachen, where the meat was first offered, were warned beforehand. Not unlike the more traditional hamburger, these were served on buns, with lettuce & tomato – just like a regular burger.

Manfred Roedder – once he got past the fact that he was eating ground-up beetle larvae – said the taste wasn’t half bad.

“I had reservations at first but I got a second serving because it tasted so good.”

Other shoppers were less enthusiastic, says Michael Reinartz, manager of the Rewe supermarket where the new meat was being rolled out.

“And we have people who say: You’re not seriously doing that?!”

Oh they’re doing it all right. The men who came up with the concept, Baris Oezel and Max Kraemer, who together formed the company Bugfoundation, were inspired to try to introduce insects to the European diet after a trip to southeast Asia.

In Asia – and indeed, much of the world outside of comparatively-wealthy North American and Europe – eating insects and other creepy crawlers is common. In fact, not eating gross & wiggly stuff is a First World luxury.

The day will likely come, however, when more of the world takes up eating insects and other wigglies. That’s because climate change, exploding population, over-fishing, dwindling natural resources, and changing attitudes towards the consumption of mammals (like cattle, pigs, sheep, and so on), are forcing the food industry to take a new look at alternative food sources, especially when it comes to protein.

Of course, just because they’re insects doesn’t mean that they have to be un-palatable, even to those of us with Western tastes. As Huffington Post reported in 2017, you can find insects on the menu at the Michelin-star-bearing Aphrodite restaurant in France, where you can dine on mealworms and crickets with foie gras. Executive Chef David Faure, not unlike the German mealworm-burger entrepreneurs, was inspired to add insects to the menu after traveling in southeast Asia.

One thing is clear: the day will likely come when readers of this article, especially younger ones, find that eating insects isn’t just a novelty, but a necessity. Hopefully the German beetle burger experiment will show that it can be done in a way that won’t gross them all out.