Bugs: they’re coming for our waffles. A new study out of Ghent University in Belgium makes a solid argument for switching from animal butter to insect butter. Through blind taste-testing, researchers have demonstrated that not only is insect fat a healthier and more sustainable alternative to dairy, but it tastes just as good, too. So there goes your main argument for why you won’t eat bugs.
Here’s how it worked. The researchers assembled a team of blind taste-testers to eat several different waffles, a scientific endeavor at which I’d excel. There were three categories of waffles: those cooked with 100% butter and 0% bug fat, those cooked with 75% butter and 25% bug fat, and a 50-50 butter/bug fat batch. And would you believe it? The tasters couldn’t tell the difference. So it’s possible that bugs are not only the protein source of the future, but they’re destined to fatten up our baked goods, too.
One of the researchers, Daylan Tzompa-Sosa, argued that insect fat (specifically, fat from black soldier fly larvae) is actually healthier than animal-based fat. It contains lauric acid, which according to Tzompa-Sosa makes it easier to digest than butter. In terms of environmental footprint, insects can be grown and harvested locally, cutting down on energy used for butter substitutes like palm fat. Insect fat production prices are too high for it to replace butter anytime soon, though, and that’s just one major hurdle for the bug revolution. Another is that bugs are weird and gross and the thought of putting them in my mouth makes every single hair on my mammalian body stand on end, a factor that was not discussed in the university report.