Lonely Planet Writer

Switzerland prepares to sell insect burgers and bug balls for the first time

It may have taken a change in the law, but Switzerland is about to start selling insect-based food in its supermarkets from next week. The long-anticipated insect burgers and bug balls, which were originally expected to be on the shelves back in the spring, will soon be readily available in Coop supermarkets across the country.

Switzerland changes law to allow sale of insect food
A grasshopper burger topped with dried grasshoppers and mealworms. Image by: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty

Stores in Bern, Zurich, Basel, Lausanne, Geneva and Lugano will all peddle the protein-rich mealworm products from 21 August after Swiss lawmakers allowed the sale of crickets, grasshoppers and mealworms back in May.

Insects have long been lauded as a good, high protein source of food and Essento, the start-up company behind the products, believe that insects are the perfect complement to a modern diet. As the world population continues to increase, eating insects is also being hyped as a sustainable alternative to meat.

Swiss law change puts insects on the menu
Bug food gets the go ahead in Switzerland. Photo by: John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Speaking about introducing bug-based products back in January, Coop said that weevils had a nutty aftertaste and crickets had a similar flavour to chicken. There are no plans yet for Swiss restaurants to sell the insect burgers, but the trend for bug-based foods has already taken off in Los Angeles, where events company Bugible is already selling grasshopper tacos and scorpions. Eat Grub, a monthly pop-up restaurant in London, is also selling Thai-inspired insect dishes.