Worm crisis turns into business opportunity Middle East businessman turns super worms into food on a plate

Kuwaiti businessman Jassem Buabbas has been breeding animal feed “superworms” for years, hoping the “creatures” will one day appear on people’s dinner plates in the Persian Gulf region.

In a small, unseen room on the outskirts of Kuwait City, Bubas put the larvae of the darkling beetle, known for its protein content, in a transparent box and used bran and corn flour as their bed.

Adults are placed in another box, ready to breed and mate.

Bubas told AFP: “My wish is that these bugs can successfully become an alternative food source for humans.”

The consumption of insects is widespread across the globe, and it is estimated that about 1,000 species of insects will be on the dinner plates of about 200 million people in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

In addition to traditional diets, cricket pasta and yellow flour worm shakes have become the latest culinary trends in several world capitals as edible insects are being promoted as a sustainable alternative source of daily protein intake.

Some Persian Gulf countries have a tradition of eating dried, roasted locusts. For some, locusts are a delicacy, but in modern times, gorging on locusts has become less popular.

While there is a strong demand for “super worms” among bird, fish, amphibian and reptile owners, they have not yet been approved for consumption by the authorities in Kuwait. Bubas is hopeful that people will be willing to try it.

While waiting for the Kuwaiti authorities to review and approve it, Bubas is also busy developing recipes.

Bubas said, “So far, I have developed three sauces, and my colleagues have tried them and liked them.”

Regulations are also trying to catch up with the trend of eating insects, and the European Union Executive Commission (European Commission) approved dried yellow mealworms for human consumption in May this year, while saying they are safe to eat.