Modifying the Bass diffusion model to study adoption of radical new foods-The case of edible insects in the Netherlands

Andrijana Horvat*, Vincenzo Fogliano, Pieternel A. Luning

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Developing new food products is a complex process. Even if a company performs new product development activities successfully, it is still uncertain if consumers will adopt the product. The Bass diffusion model has often been used to study product adoption. However, existing modifications of the Bass diffusion model do not capture the complexity of consumer food choice and they have limitations in situations where there is no sales data. To avoid these challenges, the system dynamics approach can be employed. This paper aimed at extending the existing system dynamics Bass diffusion model to investigate the dynamic adoption process of insect-based food from a consumer research perspective. We performed a structured review of the literature on edible insects to build the model. The model was used to study adoption of the product amongst consumers in the Netherlands. Simulations revealed that diffusion of a radical innovation, such as an insect-based burger, can proceed for many years before there are observable adopters in the total population, under the currently reported practices in the Netherlands. Expanding awareness of this innovation requires many decades, which can be quickened by developing strategies aimed at increasing word-of-mouth. Nevertheless, the low likelihood to adopt such food remains a challenge towards full adoption, even when the sensory quality of products is improved. To fully explore how to improve the diffusion outcome of edible insects, more knowledge on mechanisms related to positive and negative word-of-mouth, and adoption of insect-based burgers by people who initially reject them, is needed. Our study demonstrated that system dynamics models could have potential in designing new food product strategies in companies, as they facilitate decision-making and uncover knowledge gaps.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0234538
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2020

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