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Edible insects, what about the perceptions of Belgian youngsters?

Loïc Detilleux (Economics and Rural Development, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech–University of Liège, Gembloux, Belgium)
Gabrielle Wittock (Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences, Free University of Brussels, Brussels, Belgium)
Thomas Dogot (Economics and Rural Development, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech–University of Liège, Gembloux, Belgium)
Frédéric Francis (Functional and Evolutionary Entomology, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech–University of Liège, Gembloux, Belgium)
Rudy Caparros Megido (Functional and Evolutionary Entomology, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech–University of Liège, Gembloux, Belgium)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 6 January 2021

Issue publication date: 28 June 2021

359

Abstract

Purpose

Edible insects are considered as a novel food in western countries, with their introduction to cuisine having to overcome major barriers, such as disgust. The studies related to acceptance of entomophagy have exponentially grown since 2015. However, such studies generally focus on people older than 18 years old. The purpose of this study is to assess the perceptions of youngsters towards edible insects.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey associated with an optional tasting session was conducted to record opinion of 151 youngsters in Belgium (9–17-year-olds).

Findings

Many respondents are acquainted with entomophagy and had already eaten insect-based food. Most youngsters associated insects as snacks and salty foods, and they agreed to consume processed insects (falafel) during the tasting session. Tasters had to evaluate the falafel, and higher ratings were recorded in male respondents, as highlighted in studies including adults. More negative evaluations would be expected among older respondents if unprocessed insects were served, as they were more willing to consume processed insects than entire insects. Finally, attitudes towards entomophagy evolved positively after the tasting session. Such events are consequently recommended to promote entomophagy across western youngsters.

Originality/value

Few studies explored the attitude of western youngsters towards entomophagy. This paper aims to fill this gap by focusing on this young component of the Belgian population.

Keywords

Citation

Detilleux, L., Wittock, G., Dogot, T., Francis, F. and Caparros Megido, R. (2021), "Edible insects, what about the perceptions of Belgian youngsters?", British Food Journal, Vol. 123 No. 6, pp. 1985-2002. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-08-2020-0754

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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