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The role of species for the acceptance of edible insects: evidence from a consumer survey

Isabel Schäufele (Department of Agricultural and Food Marketing, University of Kassel, Witzenhausen, Germany)
Eric Barrera Albores (Department of Agricultural and Food Marketing, University of Kassel, Witzenhausen, Germany)
Ulrich Hamm (Department of Agricultural and Food Marketing, University of Kassel, Witzenhausen, Germany)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 1 August 2019

Issue publication date: 1 August 2019

Abstract

Purpose

Even though insect products increasingly receive attention as a sustainable food alternative to meat, consumer acceptance remains low. The purpose of this paper is to test consumer acceptance of two different insect species with varying degrees of processing which led to different degrees of insects’ visibility.

Design/methodology/approach

Insect dishes that varied according to species and degree of visibility were presented to participants of a self-administered personal survey within a meal context. Consumer acceptance was measured through the willingness-to-try the different dishes, and a hierarchical linear regression was applied to estimate the role of insect species.

Findings

Consumer acceptance can be improved by focusing on different forms of food processing and different insect species. The lower the visibility of insects, the higher the consumer acceptance, independent of insect species. However, this is not sufficient to overcome consumers’ widely held rejection. Main barriers for consumer acceptance seem to be low social and cultural acceptance, fear of trying unknown products and a lack of taste experience.

Originality/value

A huge body of literature has examined determinants of insect consumption, but the majority of these studies did not consider the effects of insect species. The study’s main objective is to close this research gap while checking the most relevant individual traits as identified through a literature review: food neophobia and familiarity, social and cultural norms, awareness of benefits of insect production, meat consumption and socio-demographics.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors thank Anne Christopherson for proofreading and copy-editing this paper and the two anonymous reviewers for their suggestions and comments.

Citation

Schäufele, I., Barrera Albores, E. and Hamm, U. (2019), "The role of species for the acceptance of edible insects: evidence from a consumer survey", British Food Journal, Vol. 121 No. 9, pp. 2190-2204. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-01-2019-0017

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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