Coop announced it would begin selling an insect burger and insect balls based on protein-rich mealworm in seven Coop branches, including in Geneva, Basel, Bern, Lausanne, Lugano and Zurich, as of August 21st, according to a statement.
Swiss food safety laws were changed in May to allow for the sale of food items containing three types of insects: crickets, grasshoppers and mealworms, which are the larval form of the mealworm beetle.
These insects, long used in animal feed, must be bred under strict supervision for four generations before they are considered appropriate for human consumption, according to Swiss law.
Local production will thus take a few months to get started.
In the meantime, imports are possible under strict conditions — the insects must be raised in accordance with the Swiss requirements at a company submitted to inspections by national food safety authorities.
The production of Coop's insect products, made by a Swiss start-up called Essento, was initially postponed as no approved imports were available.
Insect products “have a high culinary potential, their production saves resources and their nutritional profile is high quality,” said Essento co-founder Christian Bartsch in a statement. “Thus insects are the perfect complement to a modern diet”.