John Freeman/Getty Images

Coop is testing out the new meat substitutes as alternative sources of protein.

August 14, 2017

Switzerland is famous for doing things differently, whether it’s their continued use of their own currency, the Swiss franc, or acting as a safe haven for all sorts of different banking operations. However, Switzerland is now joining the ranks of other European countries like the Netherlands by offering bug burger patties in its grocery stores.

Swiss supermarket chain Coop will introduce burger patties and meatballs made of beetle larvae later this month. According to a Bloomberg report, the burgers will also contain rice, carrots, and spices such as oregano and chili and a two pack will cost 8.95 francs ($9.24), which is about twice the price of Coop’s Naturplan Bio organic beef burgers and almost five times as much as the least expensive burgers in its online store. The mealworm meatballs will sell at the same price for a pack of 10.

“These products are perfectly suited for those who want to learn about the culinary diversity of insects,” says Coop procurement manager Silvio Baselgia. These two products will first be available at stores in Zurich, Basel, Bern, Winterthur, Lugano, Lausanne and Geneva, plus online. Coop also plans to offer a wider selection of edible insects at more stores by the end of 2017.

Edible insects are still very much a niche item in the west, however, upwards of two billion people around the world consume bugs regularly as part of their diet. While they’re only now taking hold in North America and Europe, famous chefs like Noma’s Rene Redzepi have already started including insects on their menus. Additionally, there are even sommeliers specializing in wine and bug pairings now, just in case you want to make sure your mealworm burger and glass of sauvignon blanc balance each other out.

Mealworm burgers are not yet commercially available in the United States, but with their increasing popularity in Europe and low environmental impact, it seems like only a matter of time until Whole Foods adds an insect station to the butcher counter.