Insects have a tremendous potential; they are nutritious and plentiful. But so far there has been little research into how to make them delicious. Unless someone will make them delicious, they won’t find their way into the Western food culture.
Nordic Food Lab and University of Copenhagen have received funding to expand their research into insect gastronomy. While other researchers are focusing on environmental and nutritional benefits of entomophagy (eating of insects), Nordic Food Lab is working to make insects delicious to the Western palate and bring the bugs into its culinary culture.
The project is funded by The Velux Foundation’s program for environment and sustainability. The Foundation has granted half a million Euros for the project entitled ‘Discerning Taste: Deliciousness as an Argument for Entomophagy’.
“We are thrilled to receive the support of The Velux Foundation in our work to introduce insects into the Western diet,” says Michael Bom Frøst, director of Nordic Food Lab. “Much important work is being carried out by others. But the missing piece is a focus on deliciousness. It is our goal to provide that missing argument, so that insects become not edible novelty but celebrated ingredients with high gastronomic value.”
A team headed by Professor Jørgen Eilenberg from the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences at the University of Copenhagen will be a core partner in the project, focusing on the entomological, microbiological and pathological aspects of insects as a food source.
The founders of the world renowned Noma restaurant René Redzepi and Claus Meyer created the Nordic Food Lab in 2009 to shape the Nordic Food Culture, and spread the knowledge obtained through a scientific and methodological approach to new, natural foods.
The project will take place over the next three years, and is formally scheduled to begin in June 2013.
The project coincides with the United Nations’ FAO release of a comprehensive handbook entitled ‘Edible insects: Future prospects for food and feed security’ that draws together these different arguments and emphasizes the importance of gastronomy and a focus on deliciousness to promote widespread adoption of entomophagy.