Mealworms in the Media — and as Your Main Course

Mealworms in the Media — and as Your Main Course


We may not be ready to fire up the grill, but we can dream of long, warm sunny days. Spring is just around the corner! In the meantime, pull up a chair and read about these newsworthy mealworms. Bugs are saving the world… again.
Don’t forget to grab your cookbook, too.

Pass the mustard

Chubby Mealworms gets rave reviews from furry, feathered and finned customers. But raising mealworms is good for the planet. Mealworms require minimal resources and they are easy to care for. Humane issues at the forefront, it is far more environmentally ethical to harvest insects than vertebrates.
So, while Chubby takes a stand to improve our world while feeding chickens, wild birds and herps – a company in Switzerland wants you to throw some worms on the barbecue. Yup!
The Swiss are renowned for fine chocolates. And we all know about chocolate covered crickets, but Switzerland wants to shake up the culinary world with a savory main course option.
Coop, is a supermarket chain that is jumping onboard with meatballs and mealworm burgers. These planet-hugging options to beef are provided by insect farmers at Essento. The international movement to significantly reduce reliance on livestock farming is fueling innovative solutions from lab fashioned meat to healthy vegan selections. However, insects are not a new menu item.
Humans have collected insects for protein for millennia. The only novel concept involves the changing of some culture’s entrenched attitudes towards tossing a few mealworms into pancake batter or setting out a mouth-watering skewer of teriyaki crickets. Only 20% of the world doesn’t eat insects!
Insects are a delicacy in many cuisines (cooked and eaten by billions of people!), and Essento hopes that with mainstream supermarkets offering these kinds of products – people in the rest of the world will catch on. Greg Sewitz of Exo protein bars hopes that the 80% of the world not munching on bugs learns to ignore “irrational cultural perceptions.”

Incredible edible insects

There’s nothing tiny going on at Tiny Farms, an insect cultivation operation in California. Established in 2012, Tiny Farms is bent on changing people’s minds about this “sustainable alternative protein.” Cultivating insects is far less damaging to resources and the environment than the current livestock-based system. According to Tiny Farms, bugs raising “require[s] much less feed, water and space to grow than our traditional livestock.”
Fun fact: Chubby Mealworms knows how “green” mealworm farming is…but we don’t like to toot our own horns. Your purchase of our mealworms to feed your pets shows you care about our natural world. Being a friend to conservation is as simple as choosing what to put in your aquarium or bird feeder.

Here are some incredible insect incentives:
• Insects can be raised anywhere. Literally. They can be raised on a rooftop in a city, in your cellar, garage or…well, anywhere. Insects do not require acreage or pasture.
• Roughly 2 pounds of feed will turn into 1 pound of insect protein. It takes 25 pounds of feed to create 1 pound of beef. Nearly 2,000 gallons of water are used to raise one cow versus less than 1 gallon for the equivalent in insects.
• Insect meat is low in “bad” fats and a very healthy source of protein. Mealworms have twice the protein of beef.
• Manure, or frass, from bug farms is highly compost friendly. Forget about disgusting feedlot manure lakes and other negative environmental impacts. Bug farms emit very little (if any) greenhouse gases. Robert Nathan Allen of Little Herds says, “if we can teach the next generation of farmers, chefs, scientists, entrepreneurs and consumers that insects are just another food on the menu, in five, ten or twenty years’ time we can have a massive shift in our food system and how we feed the world.”
• The slaughtering of vertebrates is controversial! No one wants a slaughterhouse in his or her neighborhood. Insect harvests remove this need. Insects do not have the complicated intelligence or nervous systems of cows, chickens or fish, which lessens ethical issues. Bugs do not need antibiotics, rarely get sick and don’t carry the risks of contamination found in meats.
• We know the oceans are in trouble and fish species are in decline. Farming insects is far more humane, sustainable and earth-friendly than traditional fishing or fish farming. It is far less dangerous (and much more comfortable) to gather mealworms than to go to sea in a fishing trawler!
• Regions where agriculture is difficult due to drought conditions or poor soils can quickly set up an insect farm, bringing desperately needed protein to local communities.

One cup of sugar and a tablespoon of mealflour

And we don’t mean whole meal flour from wheat! Yup…mealworm flour may be the next hot item on your grocery list if it’s up to these three University of Chicago graduates. These friends have launched a successful crowdfunding dream called Mealflour that brings nutritious food to developing countries.

After visiting struggling communities in Guatemala, the entrepreneurs decided they had a plan. “Protein deficiency is an especially difficult problem,” in developing areas, “because traditional sources of protein, such as meat, are too expensive for many families. And because of the negative environmental impacts of raising livestock, or growing other sources of protein like soy, we wanted to find a more sustainable solution.” Mealflour highlights the nutritional value of the flour which “contains high levels of essential amino and fatty acids and is 55.4% protein, making it more than twice as efficient as the equivalent serving of beef.”
There is little risk of disease associated with the flour, and that is a critical issue in tropical villages with poor sanitation and no electricity. Storing or shipping traditional mammal, bird or fish carcasses is nearly impossible and the health risks of contaminated conventional meat is very high.
A mealworm in the hand is worth two in the bush! Mealflour puts food production in the hands of the people who will benefit from it, preventing the complicated delivery and distribution problems and greenhouse gas production of outdated donation methods. Mealworm farming helps these people to help themselves, and once the farm is “seeded” the communities won’t be dependent or tied to domestic or foreign “aid” projects. This builds independence and a firm foundation for internal power.
Bugs are cheap. They are easy to care for and once a colony is going the extra mealflour can be sold, “providing families with an additional source of income.”

Try it! Mealworm flour is also a shelf-stable source of food. It may also help to ease bug-phobes into trying this healthy, vitamin filled protein source. The powder is easily tossed into bread or baked goods, smoothies and shakes. You won’t know you’re eating a worm!

Chubby hopes you visit these exciting entrepreneurs’ websites. We want you to be proactive in helping others and pushing conservation forward.
Please note that Chubby Mealworms (at the moment) are grown for pets and not people. They are wholesome and healthy but not produced for human consumption. Of course, your pets told us that the mealworms are far too good to share!