Eating insects:Consumer acceptance of a culturally inappropriate food

PhD defence

Eating insects: Consumer acceptance of a culturally inappropriate food

PhD candidate G (Grace) Tan Hui Shan MSc
Promotor prof.dr.ir. JCM (Hans) van Trijp
Co-promotor dr. MA (Markus) Stieger
dr.ir. ARH (Arnout) Fischer
Organisation Wageningen University, Food Quality and Design
Date

Tue 16 May 2017 13:30 to 15:00

Venue Auditorium, building number 362
Generaal Foulkesweg 1
362
6703 BG Wageningen
0317-483592

Summary

While insects provide a source of high quality protein that can be more sustainably produced than conventional meats, the lack of consumer acceptance remains a major obstacle. This thesis investigated what determines the consumer acceptance of culturally unusual foods like insects, thereby revealing the complexities of introducing a new class of food that bears negative associations. Apart from addressing the psychological factors, the roles of culture, taste and the product characteristics in determining a food’s acceptability were explored. Findings showed that even though consumers may be curious to try and could quickly learn to appreciate the taste of a new food, it is much more difficult to overcome their deeply ingrained attitudes and to establish regular consumption of a culturally inappropriate food. In light of the findings of this thesis, the viability and potential impact of current efforts to encourage the eating of insects are critically questioned.