Insects are under investigation as potential sources of protein for animal and human diets. Western cultures are reluctant to eat insects, despite the popularity of many of their crustacean cousins (Think shrimp.). However, insects can be processed into flour that is indistinguishable from flour from other sources when casually viewed or mixed into other foods.
Proteins can be extracted from mealworms using simple food processing techniques*. The protein content of yellow mealworms is about 75% and is rich in essential amino acids. The mild flavor of mealworm protein can be readily overwhelmed by strong flavors of other ingredients. Taste tests show that most people are unable to differentiate between products that contain mealworm flour and those that do not. Will consumption of insects and insect protein be more accepted if the only way to tell that a product contains insect protein is the fine print on the package?
*Zhao X, Vázquez-Gutiérrez JL, Johansson DP, Landberg R, Langton M (2016) Yellow Mealworm Protein for Food Purposes – Extraction and Functional Properties. PLoS ONE 11(2): e0147791.