Making Mealtime Meaningful: Discover how we're giving back with the 12T Cares program →

Many of us have said we are hungry and at times, we may even feel some hunger pains but they are nothing compared to what many people around the world have to face on a daily basis.

What some people experience is more than just a twinge of hunger, they are genuinely hungry and often, they experience it on an ongoing basis.

Photo: flickr/DFID – UK Department for International Development

This global problem has often come to light but there are very few things that have been done in order to resolve it. It seems as if some scientists in South Korea now may have a solution, but it isn’t necessarily the most delicious item on the menu.

According to Science Daily, those scientists claim the solution to world hunger may come in the form of mealworms. Those mealworms, which are actually beetle larva, can be mixed with sugar to create a type of meat that they claim tastes authentic.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

According to Science Daily, the project leader from Wonkwant University, Dr. Hee Cho, said: “Recently, eating insects has become of interest because of the increasing cost of animal protein, as well as the associated environmental issues.”

The world population is growing at a phenomenal rate and by 2050, it is expected to be closing in on 10 billion. Coming up with a viable solution in the form of meat alternatives is important because it has less of an impact on the environment.

In addition, cow emissions produce methane and that increases the problem of climate change. Trying to feed an additional 2 billion people can be problematic, and cutting down on the cow population may help to reduce global warming.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Admittedly, many of us who live in first-world countries are not willing to put aside our regular hamburgers in favor of some beetle larva. Scientists seem to have solved this problem, making them just as tasty but not necessarily as appealing.

When you get right down to it, insects are nutritious and offer a healthy alternative to the meat that we are currently eating.

Cho expressed this by saying: “Insects are a nutritious and healthy food source with high amounts of fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, fiber and high-quality protein – which is like that of meat. Mealworm contains beneficial essential amino acids and is high in unsaturated fatty acids.”

Photo: Raw Pixel

One of the issues that they are facing is the fact that most people are not willing to consume edible insects. It doesn’t mean that they are less tasty or less good for you, it’s just a matter of personal preference.

To make them a little more palatable, Cho’s team did quite a bit of legwork. One of the issues that they try to overcome was the unpleasant smell of raw larvae, which changes depending on how you cooked them. When roasted, they had an oily smell but when steamed, they smelled like sweet corn.

It took a bit of testing in order to determine how much mealworms and sugar should be used in the mix, but they were able to come up with something that seemed to work quite well.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The co-author of the study, Hyeyoung Park, said: “As a result of this study, 10 of the reaction flavors were optimized based on consumer preferences.”

In the end, it really is just a matter of being fake beef but they are hoping that mass production of worm meat will help to solve some of the biggest world problems that exist today.

Subscribe to 12 Tomatoes