Vegetable bowls with crickets or colourful wraps with mealworms: For many Europeans, the idea of eating insects triggers more disgust than appetite. The digital exhibition wants to overcome prejudices and open up the debate about eating insects to the general public. From 1 November 2022, it can be visited online. “Future Food Insects” is a cooperation between the LIB, Museum Koenig Bonn and the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences (H-BRS).
“Thinking about insects as food is very important if we want to eat sustainably and healthily in the future. At the same time, the cooperation between the University of Applied Sciences and the Museum Koenig Bonn is exactly the right way to reach a broad public,” says Prof. Dr. Michaela Wirtz, Vice President Transfer, Innovation and Sustainability at the H-BRS.
For around two billion people, insects are already an integral part of their nutrition. Especially in Australia, Asia, Africa and Central and South America, dishes such as grilled grasshoppers or deep-fried mealworms are considered a delicacy. This is not only due to their taste: “The production of protein-rich foods can be implemented in a much more resource-efficient way when using insects than, for example, when using cattle. We would farm and ultimately live much more sustainably with the same amount of protein produced by insects,” says Prof. Dr. Bernhard Misof, General Director of the LIB.
The exhibition aims to reduce existing prejudices and also to answer critical questions. “Together with young people, we tried to find out in the preparation of the exhibition what fears of contact exist and what questions the young people are particularly interested in. It was very important to us to also show this contents, such as the production process of the insects,” says Dr Thomas Gerken, Head of Exhibitions at the LIB, Museum Koenig Bonn.
The initiative for the digital exhibition came from Isabelle Hirsch, who was employed as a research assistant at the H-BRS. Her research aimed to improve the nutritional situation of families in Madagascar and Myanmar through better use of edible insects. The idea quickly arose to use the experience of Museum Koenig Bonn in planning and conceptualising an exhibition and to present the scientific findings in a way that was appropriate for the target group.
In addition to information, the exhibition therefore focuses on turning the topic into a tangible experience. A collection of recipes encourages visitors to try their hand at cooking. In the exhibition, the corresponding ingredients can be collected interactively in the virtual rooms. Dr. Argang Ghadiri, a research assistant at the H-BRS, shows how the dishes are prepared and welcomes nutrition expert and author Dr. Sonja Floto-Stammen for a special broadcast of her cooking show “Wissen schmeckt”. Together, the two scientists prepare an insect bolognese with mealworms and crickets.
In the interview about the exhibition, Michaela Wirtz and Professor Bernhard Misof talk about why insects are a “future food”, how human nutrition contributes to the loss of biodiversity and why the cooperation between H-BRS and LIB is so beneficial. In addition, they answer the question of whether roasted crickets with salt or herbs are a tasty snack.
Video about the exhibition: https://youtu.be/fBy9i8y8qd4