Do You Take Wine with Your Flies?

Destination Canada’s Legacy & Impact Study is tracking the beyond-tourism benefits of up to 16 business events held across Canada between 2018 and 2024. This case study examines the extraordinary legacy of the Insects to Feed the World Conference, which has had a powerful impact on research and industry in Québec.

From structuring an emerging sector to inspiring its future visionaries, the Insects to Feed the World Conference in Québec demonstrates the true power of events

Insects, whilst not typically eaten in Canada, are increasingly being recognized as a valuable food source for both animals and humans, with minimal environmental impact.

In Québec, the edible insect industry is gaining momentum following the 4th Insects to Feed the World (IFW) Conference, held in Québec City from June 12 to June 16, 2022.

This groundbreaking event was attended by 580 participants, including leaders from the insect and feed industries, universities, non-governmental organizations and others to share the latest advancements in the field.

Role of the Destination Marketing Organization

The Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) was Québec City Business Destination, a partnership between the Québec City Convention Centre and Destination Québec cité (formerly Québec City Tourism). The local hosts, Dr. Marie-Hélène Deschamps and Dr. Grant Vandenberg from Université Laval, served as Co-Chairs of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC).

To gather proposals from potential conference destinations, an international board informally issued calls during meetings then reviewed these applications, rather than holding a formal bidding process.

When Dr. Vandenberg initiated the bid, the DMO provided essential tools for launching the project, including financial support programs, destination promotion, bid documentation and connections to resources in Québec City. Additionally, the DMO facilitated the appointment of Conferium, a local Professional Conference Organizer.

Québec City was compared to four other cities globally and emerged as the top choice.

Dr. Marie-Hélène Deschamps and Dr. Grant Vandenberg, who served as co-chairs of the Local Organizing Committee for the 2022 Insects to Feed the World Conference.

Dr. Deschamps and Dr. Vandenberg hold the positions of Assistant Professor and Professor respectively in the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences at Université Laval.

Legacy Intentions

The conference aimed to foster dialogue and share research findings on the use of insects as food and feed security. Its objectives included creating evidence-based legislation, advancing communal knowledge and promoting sector innovation.

In addition, the LOC included researchers with unique expertise in raising insects as feed for livestock, and other local hosts determined to showcase this sector and increase public acceptance of insect-based food. They also wanted to grow understanding of the sector and its role in sustainable food production for humans and animals, particularly in reducing greenhouse gas emissions through food waste practices and a down-cycling approach, which takes a low-value waste product and upcycles it into a high-value feed resource. Influencing policy was key to the overall agenda.

Through hosting this event, the DMO aimed to achieve several critical objectives:

  • Deliver economic impact: Québec City anticipated generating significant economic benefits, including increased revenue from tourism, local businesses and job creation.
  • Showcase hosting expertise: The event would serve as a platform to demonstrate the city’s proficiency in organizing conferences, as well as its infrastructure, hospitality and logistical capabilities.
  • Inspire future ambassadors: Through well-documented case studies, event organizers sought to encourage future local ambassadors to bid for international conferences.
  • Enhance sector visibility: Event organizers hoped to put this sector on the map, not only for its scientific value, but for its contributions to government, industry and policy. The event would explore future socioeconomic effects of insect feeding practices and showcase insect processing companies. It would strengthen the industry and gain recognition for insects as a food source. Organizing a public event exhibiting local insect farmers and processors would demystify the sector and reach a wider audience.
  • Accelerate the industry: The conference would bring academics together with more industrialists than any previous event, blend research findings with commercial reality and accelerate the industrial dimension of the sector.
  • Share sector knowledge: The organizers hoped to create a platform for exchanges between scientists, industrialists and students, and provide an industry showcase to demonstrate to the government and public that this industry is already established in Québec. The conference would facilitate the transfer of technology activities and research at an agronomic level, and develop an international academic society offering a platform for scientific exchange.
  • Promote circular economy: Organizers aimed to provide an understanding of the advantages this sector could deliver through its circular economy model. Agriculture is one of the original models for a no-waste circular economy, as the plant and animal resources are re-used to benefit each other.
  • Support sector education: The event would help create new university or college courses, and establish a research chair at Université Laval, opening the door to an official academic-industry partnership.

Organizers wanted to showcase the no-waste circular economy of agriculture, in which plant and animal resources are re-used to benefit each other.

Key Outcomes

The conference’s key outcomes were:

  1. Creation of a Leadership Chair: The establishment of the Leadership Chair in Education in Primary Production and Processing of Edible Insects (CLEIC) at Université Laval marks a significant milestone. Held by Dr. Deschamps, this research chair enhances collaboration between academia, industry and government. It aims to further structure the insect industry, a crucial legacy goal. This initiative is primarily supported by industry funding, a rarity for such a young industry.
  2. Official recognition by Government: Québec’s Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food officially recognized insects as livestock, which is pivotal for industry development. As a result, government resources were allocated to support the developing insect industry.
  3. Formation of an International Association: In the absence of an international body overseeing the edible insects field, delegates decided to create a new international association. So far, a structure, by-laws and a board have all been developed.
  4. Training of aspiring chefs: The conference’s culinary partners trained aspiring chefs in local culinary schools and catering teams at conference venues, focusing on the incorporation of insects into menus at establishments throughout the city.

Some of the cuisine served at the conference.


“Insects to Feed the World, as a conference in Québec City, is the case study that every country, every city would like to have, because it demonstrates the power of events, particularly for emerging sectors.” — Geneviève Leclerc, Co-Founder and CEO of #MEET4IMPACT.

Québec City, Québec.

The success of the Insects to Feed the World conference underscores the importance of business events in helping to advance industry sectors in their destination. This conference was instrumental in structuring the insect technology industry to foster growth, understanding, acceptance, and innovation.

Québec City emerged as a formidable hub for ento technologies, signalling a promising future for insect industries in Canada. With a noticeable growth in insect producers and insect-based products, the sector stands poised for significant expansion.

Notably, while companies like the Aspire Food Group, which runs the world’s largest cricket farm in London, Ontario are investing significantly in the edible insects industry, not every producer can process insects. In response,the Québec AgriFood Innovation Centre is developing an insect processing lab to serve small producers in Québec on a contractual basis.

It is clear that in 2022, this Insects to Feed the World Conference left a powerful legacy, enabling the sector to capitalize on these developments and contribute meaningfully to sustainable food systems and agricultural innovation on a global scale.
IMEX Press Conference Reaction:

The Insects to Feed the World Case Study secured a serendipitous blessing!

Further learning:

Discover more about Destination Canada’s Business Events Legacy & Impact Study

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