Beetleburgers could soon be helping to feed the world, according to new research. The creepy crawlers’ larvae — better known as mealworms — could act as a meat alternative to alleviate hunger worldwide.

The process uses a fraction of the land and water and emits a smaller carbon footprint in comparison of traditional farming. To make this a reality, French biotech company Ynsect is planning a global network of insect farms, including nurseries and slaughterhouses.

A pilot plant has already been set up at Dole in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comte region of France. Unlike the livestock industry, where rearing is typically separate, this entire bug-based operation is under one roof.


“We are in full control of the chain of production. That gives us strength in terms of quality, security, and safety,” says Benjamin Armenjon, general manager of Ynsect, according to a statement from SWNS.

Robot arms and automated conveyor belts transport stacks of red trays in every direction. They are filled with billions of Tenebrio molitor beetle larvae. The dried critters are more than 50 percent protein and rich in fiber and fats as well.

Meanwhile, Microsoft co-founder turned billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates said he is hopeful that fake meat products will eventually be a “very good” option for consumers even though the share of products in the “meat” market is small.

“I think eventually these products will be very good even though their share is small today,” Gates said in a Reddit forum on a question relating to tackling the climate crisis, first reported CNBC.

Gates said innovations like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, which are plant-based food options that range from burger to chicken nugget alternatives, and the food technology company, Upside Foods, which takes animal cells to then grow meat in a laboratory environment, are crucial steps for reducing animal consumption.

The climate activist pointed to more traditional approaches to avoiding meat like vegetarianism or going vegan and said, “that is great” but noted that most people will not choose to remove meat from their diet. “I don’t think most people will do that,” he said, noting that alternative meat products were necessary options to therefore lower meat consumption.


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