Strategies to convince consumers to eat insects? A review

Arnold van Huis*, Birgit Rumpold

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The idea of insects as human food in the Western world has only been around for a few decades. Insect products can be a substitute for conventional meat because: 1) their nutritional value is similar and there may be health benefits; 2) their environmental impact is lower; and 3) food safety is guaranteed. Nevertheless, it seems that Western consumers are reluctant to consume insects because of: 1) disgust – the product goes beyond the internalised norm of what food is; 2) neophobia – hesitance to consume unfamiliar food; 3) lack of product information; 4) lack of experience – never having consumed insects before; 5) disinterest and indifference. Differences in attitude towards insect consumption worldwide may be explained by cultural backgrounds and traditional eating patterns. It seems that about a quarter of the population in most countries are willing to try insect-based products. Strategies to convince consumers include: 1) emphasising that insects are nutritionally adequate; 2) incorporating them in unrecognisable form in familiar products; 3) making insect products delicious; 4) giving people a taste experience; 5) marketing insect-based products by taste; 6) providing detailed information about the insect product, taking into consideration that sustainability may not be the most convincing factor; 7) using celebrities to promote the product; 8) targeting specific groups such as sensation-seekers or children; 8) devising market strategies, such as using stylistic images and choosing supermarkets for retailing. The main objective is to find a combination of these strategies appropriate for a certain type of consumer depending on their socio-cultural background.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104927
JournalFood Quality and Preference
Volume110
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023

Keywords

  • Edible insects
  • Entomophagy
  • Environment
  • Food safety
  • Insect consumption
  • Insect-based products
  • Insects as food and feed

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