Insect-Based Food: A (Free) Choice uri icon


  • The literature highlights the importance of insect consumption for nutritional health habits. The increasingly clear legislation, the developed studies demonstrating their nutritional value, and the prospect of overcoming some barriers that have prevented consumers from consuming insects are among the reasons supporting the advantages of consuming insects. The leading determinants of consumption are culture and individual and social beliefs, accessibility to a particular nutritional resource, and individual behavior. The barriers to neophobia were analyzed by evaluating factors of influence and their respective relationship and meaning through quantitative research to measure the significance of the results. To develop a conceptual model that aims to change eating behavior and recognize structural aspects that can be barriers in the process of changing eating behavior, a methodological framework was developed. The methodological framework aimed to identify the characteristics that can be associated with the profile of opinion leaders, and it included a questionnaire which was applied to 213 young people. Moreover, the structural equation model was the statistical technique used. Given the projected population growth and increasing life expectancy, nutrition is a challenge in terms of health, but also in economic, social, and environmental respects. Aiming for sustainability, it is crucial to identify nutritional alternatives within the circular economy.
  • The negative impact that animal protein sources have on the environment is a critical world problem. Finding new acceptable alternatives is crucial. Nevertheless, numerous factors influence the decision to try an unknown food. By adopting a consumer behavior perspective as well as approaching the possibility of overcoming neophobia, this research examined the influence of sensory perception on consumer behavior with regard to the experimentation with new foods, focusing on entomophagy. A theoretical model was developed, and path analysis and factor influence were based on the structural equation model (PLS-SEM), designed in SmartPLS, to test the model relationships. Despite the low level of awareness concerning the benefits of entomophagy, this study considered that many aspects influence experimentation with new food, specifically our sensorial system. Sensory perception is founded on the senses, such as the tactile, olfactory, visual, and gustatory senses, which can influence perception. In line with these assumptions, this research identified the three most important and decisive factors that can influence individuals’ sensory perceptions: preparation, visual and related aspects, and the presentation of the shape of food have an influence on sensory perception regarding entomophagy consumer behavior. People like to know the method of preparation as well as the ingredients and the color of the food. These findings are crucial to food business practitioners, policymakers, and marketers, who can adopt some food process strategies following sensory perception, that will contribute to changing the habits of consumers.

publication date

  • June 2022