The EU will spend three million Euros to research ‘the potential of insects as an alternative source of protein.’ Research projects will be selected this year. Food experts agree that insects would probably have to be disguised for European audiences, so the insect ‘food’ could be used as an additive in burgers and other fast food. The UN’s Food Standards Authority says of the research: ‘While insects have not traditionally been used for food in the UK or elsewhere in the European Union, it is estimated that about 2.5 billion people across the world have diets that routinely include insects. ‘While many insects are regarded as pests, the UN’s Food and Agriculture authority is interested in promoting edible insects as a highly sustainable source of nutrition.’ Some worms contain three times as much protein as beef per ounce, while four crickets have as much calcium as a glass of milk. Daniel Creedon, a chef who serves ants, locusts and bees in honey at the London Archipelago restaurant, said: ‘If insects start coming into the food chain they are probably going to have to be disguised. ‘ ‘Food producers will probably get away with describing it as animal based proteins. Not many people will buy a locust burger.’ Website Treehugger said: ‘It is not hard to imagine the development of an insect-based food additive that enriches burger and nugget protein levels. ‘Burgers with processed insect meal could be sold by chains under claims such as “higher in protein”, “healthier fats”, and “eco-burger”‘. Eighty per cent of countries on Earth already eat insects, and more than 1,000 insect species are often eaten by human beings. Unlike conventional livestock, insects and bugs need little space and can be bred in sealed buildings under natural light where they live off waste, paper and algae. The idea has previously been backed by the UN and EU as a way to tackle food shortages. Some academics believe that the expense and environmental cost of raising livestock means that insect-eating will be inevitable – and it has been claimed that by the end of this decade, insect-eating will be widespread. Prof Marcel Dicke of Wageningen University in the Netherlands said: ‘The most important thing is getting people prepared, getting used to the idea. Because from 2020 onwards, there won’t be much of a choice for us.