A Belgian startup is attempting to circumvent the issue of Westerners not being the biggest fans of eating insects — by hiding as best they can the fact that they're selling you insects.

While insects are frequently eaten in many cultures, they're not exactly a common menu item in most locales in the Western world. A company called SexyFood's solution to this problem is simple: hide the fact that they're insects using the seductive power of shiny packaging. The above image, one of many on their website, is a package for yellow scorpions. Note the conspicuous absence of a cartoon scorpion jauntily waving its pincers, as if to say "eat me! There's a less than 20% chance I'll attempt to sting my way out of your esophagus on the way down!"

Advertisement

SexyFood actually seems to be trying to play both ends against the middle here. On one hand, they do everything possible to disguise the fact that they're selling you bugs which you are supposed to put in your facehole. On the other hand, they have to acknowledge that yes, they are selling you bugs, so you get quotes from their website like the following:

One only has to place a can of edible insects next to a bowl of potato chips to shake an evening up and trigger an effusion of emotions . . . You will experience this surprising discovery together, and it will not be forgotten any time soon.

That quote's especially telling, because look at the phrasing there. There's no actual positive terminology. A bowl of insects at a party will "trigger an effusion of emotions," most likely horror and dread. Such would be a "surprising discovery," which is true, but so is finding a dead squirrel trapped in your engine block. "It will not be forgotten any time soon" — just like the time at your family reunion that 78-year-old Aunt Jeanie got really drunk and naked and tried to jump from the hotel roof to the pool. Not even SexyFood can bring themselves to say unequivocally positive things about eating insects, and I strongly suspect it's because one can only stretch adspeak so far.

Advertisement

Look, there's nothing wrong with people choosing to use insects as a viable source of protein. Good for them for it. I'll also absolutely acknowledge that eating insects would be infinitely better for the environment and far more sustainable than our current system of all the meat all the time. People are right when they point out there's no logical reason to be OK with eating animals like pigs and cows, but to have issues with eating insects. From a purely logical standpoint, there should be no difference.

I know all of that. I acknowledge all of that. I also don't care about any of it — you can't make me eat insects under any circumstances. While I freely acknowledge this is illogical and based in nothing more than my own hangups, I have been utterly and completely terrified of anything insectoid (I realize it's not scientifically accurate to include arachnids in this statement, but I'm doing it anyway) I for my entire life, and the thought of putting an insect in my mouth fills me with skin-crawling, bowel-knotting horror. When I read the list of products on sale from SexyFood, from rhino beetles to giant waterbugs to black scorpions, I feel far more physically ill than I did at any point while writing today's Pinterest piece. I would rather eat every item featured in that post than one insect. I know I'm not the only one.

Ultimately, if you feel comfortable shoving a waterbug down your throat, I applaud you for it. Just don't ask me to do the same.