Consumers' acceptance of the first novel insect food approved in the European Union: Predictors of yellow mealworm chips consumption

Food Sci Nutr. 2022 Jan 18;10(3):846-862. doi: 10.1002/fsn3.2716. eCollection 2022 Mar.


Climate and environmental-related challenges are high on the agenda of the European Union (EU). One priority is to redesign the existing food system into a more sustainable one, where the link between healthy people and a balanced environment is considered. The EU bets on the role of insect farming in supporting the transition toward healthier and future-proof diets. Following this orientation, we investigated consumers' attitude toward yellow mealworm chips (YMC) and identified the predictors of YMC consumption. The causal relationships between constructs were explored using the structural equation modeling (SEM) based on partial least squares (PLS) using SmartPLS software. The perceived lower environmental impact of YMC compared to meat was the most appreciated characteristic of YMC. The study identified five predictors of YMC consumption, among which the perceived characteristics of YMC have the strongest influence on the consumption probability. Against the expectations of the authors, disgust with the accidental encounter of insects in foods did not influence the probability of eating YMC. Age was another predictor of YMC consumption. It is known that food preferences and eating behaviors are mainly developed during childhood and tend to manifest in adult life. Consequently, it can be inferred that acceptance and preference for insect-based foods (IBF) should be stimulated from early childhood. Finally, practical implications are advanced as possible solutions to overcome the obstacles toward YMC consumption.

Keywords: disgust; food consumption drivers; insect‐based foods; perceptions; yellow mealworm.