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Understanding the perception of edible insects

Christiano França da Cunha (Faculty of Applied Sciences – FCA, UNICAMP, Limeira, Brazil)
Maurilio Barbosa de Oliveira da Silva (Faculty of Applied Sciences – FCA, UNICAMP, Limeira, Brazil)
Thelma Lucchese Cheung (Department of Business Administration, Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso Do Sul, Campo Grande, Brazil)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 23 May 2022

Issue publication date: 9 February 2023




Edible insects are increasingly recognized as great food resources of the future. Entomophagy, the practice of eating insects, has a predicted market by 2030 of nearly $8 billion. But this market could grow even more with the acceptance of insects as food by Western consumers, as an alternative to conventional protein sources. In this context, the authors aim to collect and analyze information about consumers' perception of insects as food in Brazil, through the word association task.


In total, 751 participants agreed to complete the word association task in relation to entomophagy through an online questionnaire. They had to write down the first five words or terms that came to their minds when they thought of eating insects.


Individual mentions were categorized according to their similarities and/or proximity. Based on this grouping the authors identified six dimensions, with emphasis on “hedonic attitudes and feelings”, “cultural aspects” and “exotic”. The study concludes that Brazilians see insect consumption as belonging to another culture, not Western.


Few studies have explored the association of words in relation to entomophagy, especially in Brazil. This article aims to fill this gap, using this methodology applied to the Brazilian public.



The translation of this study was funded by the Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul and the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES) – Brazil – Financial Code 001.


Cunha, C.F.d., Silva, M.B.d.O.d. and Cheung, T.L. (2023), "Understanding the perception of edible insects", British Food Journal, Vol. 125 No. 3, pp. 980-993.



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