In many parts of the world, eating insects is no big deal. Bugs are part of the national diet in 36 African, 29 Asian, 23 Pan American, and 11 European countries, according to National Geographic. They’re a cheap, sustainable protein that requires less land and water than livestock farming. And with 1,900 edible species on this planet, they are in plentiful supply.

So why don’t we eat them more in the West? Mainly, because we think they’re gross. We selectively perceive bugs as distasteful, but if escargot can be served in high end restaurants, surely we can eventually accept other insects on our dinner plates too. That malleability of taste is what the French startup Sexyfood is banking on.

Sexyfood is marketing worms, beetles, grasshoppers, and ants not just as food, but as a premium experience—starting with its luxurious packaging.

Photo: Packaging of the World

All photos: Packaging of the World

On its website, the company positions its product not as canned creepy crawlies, but as an adventurous gastronomic encounter. It accurately points out that “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.”

Photo: Packaging of the World

It also claims that your guests will always refer to that evening as “the night you made us eat crickets.” And in all likelihood, it’s right.

Photo: Packaging of the World

Sexyfood currently sells 11 cans ranging from dark or white chocolate covered superworms to black scorpions in barbecue or cheese-and-bacon flavor. You can also purchase combos, such as the aphrodisiac pack, for what is almost guaranteed to be an unforgettable evening.

Photo: Packaging of the World

Whether or not this product gets any market traction, it signals that edible insects are transitioning from the unimaginable to the mainstream. How long that transition takes, though, remains to be seen; it’s possible that Sexyfood is a little ahead of its time.

[via PSFK]