First the statistics: over the past century, the global population has quadrupled. Today, according to the most recent estimate by the UN, there are 7.6 billion of us vying for room on this planet – and we may reach 9.7 billion by 2050. As a result, food demand is expected to increase anywhere between 59% and 98% in the next 30 years. Lab-grown meat is one solution, but an easier bet is insects. There are more than 1,000 insect species that are already eaten by 80% of the world’s nations, and not only do these insects contain more protein and less fat than other meats, but they have 20 times the food-conversion efficiency.
Enter: the Bug Burger, a dish that has been created by IKEA’s Space10, the innovation lab that develops sustainable solutions for our overcrowded tomorrow. Made up of 20% mealworms (the larvae of darkling beetles), the burger patty mostly contains potato, parsnip and beetroot, and has a garnish of blackcurrant ketchup and hydroponic greens.
Then there are the Neatballs. Created with cultured meat, insect protein and food waste, these ‘alternative’ meatballs come served with the same mashed potatoes, gravy, and lingonberry sauce that you get with IKEA’s most famous dish. Vegetarian? You could always opt for the Dogless Hotdog, with baby carrots, beet and berry ketchup, and mustard and turmeric cream. It’s all housed in a bun made entirely of spirulina, the micro-algae that has been called “the most ideal food for mankind” by the UN.
Sadly, don’t expect to see these delights on your next furniture run this project is currently limited to culinary research. However, Space10 is pretty confident these dishes will be well received once available, saying: “One bite, and we believe you’ll be crawling back for more.” Shudder