PhD Oral Exam - Didier Marquis, Humanities
Bugging the Western Diet: An interdisciplinary study on insects as future foods
This event is free
School of Graduate Studies
When studying for a doctoral degree (PhD), candidates submit a thesis that provides a critical review of the current state of knowledge of the thesis subject as well as the student’s own contributions to the subject. The distinguishing criterion of doctoral graduate research is a significant and original contribution to knowledge.
Once accepted, the candidate presents the thesis orally. This oral exam is open to the public.
As food supply practices must adapt to the reality of limited natural resources, we must find alternative solutions to meet the dietary needs of a growing world population. This dissertation reports on the viability of edible insects as a solution to globally improve food security. Compared to conventional livestock, insect production requires less feed, water, and space while generating less pollution and waste. Moreover, circular insect farming methods can allow the reintroduction into the food chain of various types of clean and traceable organic residues in order to produce sustainable animal proteins within cities, therefore improving food sovereignty at the local scale. However, the general aversion for edible insects represents a major barrier that must be alleviated.
This dissertation identifies strategies to efficiently and sustainably introduce insect farming and consumption at the city scale. The introductory chapter of this thesis provides the rationale behind my research, framing its research area and explaining its key objectives. The second chapter is oriented towards consumer behavior as it focuses on the challenges related to marketing insect food products, paying particular attention to the motivations driving food choices. The third chapter exposes the results of both a national survey I developed aiming to assess the perceptions and attitudes of Canadians towards entomophagy (i.e. insect consumption) as well as insect tastings I organized in order to develop a better understanding of Quebeckers’ preferences for edible insect products. The fourth chapter exposes an action research project I led involving high school students delving on exposure and familiarization with edible insects as an avenue to positively change their perception towards entomophagy. The fifth chapter discusses how following industrial ecology principles in insect farms can allow to lower both production costs and environmental impacts. Finally, the concluding chapter holistically reflects on entomophagy and entotechnologies (i.e. insect farming practices) as sustainable solutions to reduce the ecological impacts linked to the production and consumption of animal proteins – tackling food waste and thus reducing the carbon footprint associated to the management of rapidly decomposable organic materials.