With the growing population, the need for alternative food sources to feed billions is dire. Industrial designer Katharina Unger believes she has a solution to the problem: She thinks you should all eat bugs.
Unger’s device Farm 432 allows people to cultivate and harvest their own edible fly larvae. Metro talked to the creator about the project and why we should start considering insects as part of a balanced meal.
Metro: Most people say "Ew bugs!" What makes them such a good snack?
Katharina Unger: They contain lots of protein, amino acids and calcium. We tend to have negative associations with them, but if you look at them just like you do at any other sort of food it makes sense to eat them. They can be raised sustainably -- some of them like my larvae can be fed on biowaste and are therefore very cost efficient in terms of resources.
And they taste good! I just had a barbeque this weekend where I served some and my friends and family loved them!
Where did you come up with this idea?
It was my graduation project from Uni. I started to research about factory farming in general. I felt I could only do something with alternative food sources, as otherwise I would end up contributing to this dysfunctional system.
So I looked into alternatives, and that's when insects became interesting to me. I researched the various kinds of insects and how they are raised, and the black soldier fly turned out as the most efficient for my purpose.
What does fly larvae taste like?
A bit meaty and nutty. They are a bit harder on the outside and like soft meat on the inside. When you cook them, they smell a bit like cooked potatoes, starchy.
Have you ever tried to cater a 3-course dinner using this device and bugs as your main protein?
Yes I cooked a 3-course dinner with the larvae once. I had fly in soup as starter, tortellini a la larva as main and larve au chocolate as dessert.
Have you tried to harvest other bugs?
I was doing some research into how to raise different kinds of bugs, and decided on the black soldier fly due to its specific life-cycle and advantages. I never raised other ones but I ate others like grasshoppers, crickets and mealworms.
Do you have a favorite bug-based meal?
It's the larvae tomato risotto I always recommend. A lot of tomatoes mixed with wild rice and parboiled one, a bit of Parmesan cheese and basil. It turns out as a delicious meal!