Researchers Bet You'll Eat Maggots If They're Disguised In Food

A number of past studies have warned that the world's current meat consumption habits — including the types of meat consumed — are unsustainable. 'Alternative meats,' namely insects, are often cited as the protein of the future, but many Westerners express a reluctance toward eating them. That may change, researchers speculate, if the insects are offered in the form of familiar pre-packaged food products.

Conventional cattle and pork livestock industries won't be able to produce enough meat to satisfy the dietary needs of larger future populations, necessitating the arrival of alternative, more sustainable options, of which maggots, crickets, and other insects are included alongside lab-grown beef and plant-based protein 'meat' products.

University of Queensland professor of meat science Dr. Louwrens Hoffman points out that while some people in the west are open to the idea of consuming insects as part of a food dish, they're often turned away at the idea of having to actually prepare and consume these meals on their own...unless the insects are already processed.

Consumers may be more open to the idea of eating foods that incorporate insect-based protein as an ingredient, such as part of the protein in a sausage. Insect-based ingredients may even make their way into unexpected food items — Hoffman says one of his students developed a 'tasty' ice cream that included insect ingredients.

Dr. Hoffman explained:

Would you eat a commercially-made sausage made from maggots? The same question can be asked for other insect larvae and even whole insects like locusts. The biggest potential for sustainable protein production lies with insects and new plant sources.