Swiss supermarket chain Coop, to a bit of hoopla, began selling “burgers” and “balls” made from insects. Picture: Walter Bieri/Keystone via AP, file

Geneva — A Swiss supermarket chain has started selling burgers and balls made from insects, a move being billed as a legal first in Europe.

Seven of Coop's nearly 2 500 stores in Switzerland are serving up the critter concoctions from Zurich-based food startup Essento. A broader launch is planned by year's end.

The bug burgers are made of rice, chopped vegetables, spices and mealworm larvae.

Swiss supermarket chain Coop, to a bit of hoopla, began selling “burgers” and “balls” made from insects. Picture: Gabriele Putzu/Ti-Press/Keystone via AP, file

Coop says its goal is to convince leery consumers to try a nutritious, if unusual food that "preserve the planet's resources."

During the limited rollout, curious consumers have had the insect products flying off the shelves.

A change in Swiss law in May allows the sale for human consumption of three types of insects: mealworm larvae, house crickets and migratory locusts.

Associated Press