UB students taking their burger alternative to the public

Published August 6, 2019

Three UB students will test their sustainable beef alternative burger with a larger public for the first time this weekend.

Protein Responsibly (formerly Numu) will have its own booth at the inaugural Flutterby Festival happening in Buffalo's Elmwood Village neighborhood. The festival is a unique “eco-event” that will showcase local organizations and individuals who are committed to positive environmental change.

“Compared to other things we’ve done, this will be a true test to our product. It’s the real public,” says Abdulrahman Hassaballah, a PhD candidate in environmental engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and one of the founding members of Protein Responsibly. “It’s not just a UB community, and it isn’t an environment of familiar faces.”

The team — which includes Hassaballah, Olivia Burgner, a senior in UB’s School of Management, and Anish Ajay Kirtane, a master’s student in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering — will make its mealworm burgers available for purchase at Flutterby this Saturday, Aug. 10, from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on the corner of Ashland Avenue and Bryant Street in Buffalo.

Protein Responsibly will also educate community members about the environmental differences between beef and insect-based foods. Community members will have an opportunity to help the team name the mealworm burger.

“We’re trying to engage the community. We’re from Buffalo and we want to grow with Buffalo,” Hassaballah says.