You read it correctly, insects are supposed to sacrifice themselves to feed the people on earth and save the environment. The issue will be discussed in depth during the 4th edition of the International Insects to Feed the World 2022 (IFW 2022) conference, which will take place at the Québec City Convention Centre from June 12 to 16, 2022 in a hybrid format. The event will be a first for Canada since the previous editions were held in the Netherlands in 2014, in China in 2018, and virtually in 2020. Québec City was perfectly suited to host this type of event, as it is a world leader in food and nutrition research.
The idea only sounds strange to western cultures, but there are many countries globally which have included for centuries this highly nutritious option in their everyday diet. According to Grant Vandenberg, professor at the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences at Université Laval and member of the Québec City’s Ambassadors’ Club: “Edible insects contain high-quality protein, vitamins and amino acids for both humans and animals, including fish. Insects feed on organic waste and have a high food conversion rate, which means insects require much less to feed on than other animals.”
Together with Marie-Hélène Deschamps, another Québec champion from the Laval University, the professor, who’s on local research in the Canadian province of developing bioprocesses that can transform edible insects into food and feed on an industrial scale and his own work on how farmed fish are fed, was instrumental in bringing the major conference to the city. Around 500 pioneers and experts in the field, as well as businesses looking to market edible insects, are expected to attend the event to discuss topics like ethno-entomology, insect production systems, circular economies and environmental sustainability, and non-food applications of insects.
Besides the scientific content, the event will also offer a culinary element, as the attendees will get a chance to try new menus which combine local ingredients and specially chosen insects, created by Chef Joseph Yoon (culinary director of the event) and Chef Simon Renaud (the Convention Centre’s chef).
In fact, the collaboration between the two chefs has been so smooth that they decided to give workshops and make culinary demonstrations to the public. As part of the IFW 2022 and with the goal to promote entomophagy and entotechnologies with the citizens of Québec City, relevant activities are organized at the “Marché des insectes comestibles” (market for edible insects) from June 16 to 18 at the Grand Marché de Québec.
The hope of the professor, the chefs and the entire organizing committee of the conference is that “perceptions will change as research continues to unveil the undeniable benefits edible insects can offer the world in terms ending hunger and protecting the environment.”