Dutch designer touts non-traditional sausages as the way of the future

A Dutch designer and passionate foodie, who has studied sausages, says we should look at incorporating insects and even seaweed if we want to keep the meat product sustainable. 

Carolien Niebling is the author of The Sausage of the Future, and says we need to reconsider our definition of what a sausage is.

"As long as you put it together, small pieces of food in a skin, I think it's considered a sausage," says Niebling, who has spent more than three years studying and tasting more than 75 different types of sausages.

The passionate foodie developed an interest after learning about the toll the meat industry is having on our planet, but she says we shouldn't have to rule out meat altogether. 

"By changing the sausage little by little, but on a larger scale, people will get used to the idea of eating less meat."

Niebling says incorporating non-meat ingredients in sausages can make a difference, and if done correctly, the sausages will still taste good. 

"For example if you have bangers and mash, a classic English dish, why not put it in a sausage because it already tastes so good together. "

Today six top New Zealand chef's accepted the challenge, plating up their own hybrid-type sausages, made from ingredients such as discarded fish fillets and fish heads.  

"Pretty much all of the food that we've used on our dish would have otherwise gone to waste, so it's donated from businesses before they throw it away," says Nick Loosley, founder of Everybody Eats.

Niebling says her sausage-design method is a great way for countries to incorporate local delicacies, like a paua sausage that's on the menu today.

But she also suggests using some slightly more adventurous foods like seaweed and insects.   

"They are nutritious, they are good to grow."

Niebling hopes that by reducing rather than ruling out meat we can ensure the humble sausage lives on.