Furniture retailer IKEA is well known for its affordable, build-it-yourself decor, but also for its cheap and tasty Swedish meatballs.
Customers who enjoy the signature snack while shopping for furniture may be surprised to learn that Ikea's "future-living lab," a group in Copenhagen called Space10, which researches ideas for IKEA, has released five new dishes made from sustainable ingredients such as spirulina, beetroot, hydroponic sprouts — and mealworms.
The insect items include "Neatballs," a re-imagining of the famous Swedish version, substituting mealworms for meat, and "Bug Burgers."
Grubs are good grub: "Insects generally contain more protein and are lower in fat than traditional meats and have about 20 times higher food conversion efficiency, making it a viable addition to our current menu," Simon Caspersen, a co-founder of Space10, tells CNBC Make It.
Indeed, according to a report by the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization, eating insects could be a solution to many of the problems that come with humans' consumption of animal protein, including demand, cost and environmental effects.
And supposedly they don't taste too bad either. Mealworms reportedly have a nutty flavor that can taste sort of like peanuts when roasted. In fact, bugs are a longtime staple in some cuisines around the world, like Mexican and Thai.
IKEA has no immediate plans to introduce the foods to stores, Caspersen says — the project is research for making sustainability taste delicious. Have they accomplished that? Take a look at their new menu.
1. The Neatball