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“Do you eat insects?” Acceptance of insects as food by children

“Do you eat insects?” Acceptance of insects as food by children While recent academic research on entomophagy has predominantly focused on adults, the purpose of this child-centred research is to obtain a better understanding of young consumer acceptance of insect-based foods.Design/methodology/approachTwo qualitative studies were conducted with a total of 43 French children aged 8–13 years. Study 1 (n = 22), based on semi-directive interviews, and Study 2 (n = 21), based on focus groups, included projective techniques and exposure to different types of insect-based products to help children express their feelings and thoughts.FindingsThe evidence shows that in Western children’s minds, insects are considered as culturally non-edible. Children predominantly reject insects as food because of their sensory properties and the disgust they arouse. However, their interest in eating insect-based food is embedded within experiential contexts specific to childhood, in particular the peer group, which makes insect-eating fun and challenging, and the family, which offers a protective and reassuring setting.Practical implicationsThe authors advocate changing children’s sensory perception of insect-eating food through sensory and participatory activities. Manufacturers and policymakers should also draw on children’s peer culture to associate insect-eating with positive social experiences and foster peer influence.Originality/valueDrawing on cognitive psychology theories and the literature in food science on food rejection, the authors contribute to emerging consumer research on alternative food consumption (AFC) focusing on cognitive, emotional and social factors of acceptance or rejection of insect-based foods by children. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Consumer Marketing Emerald Publishing

“Do you eat insects?” Acceptance of insects as food by children

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References (63)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
0736-3761
eISSN
0736-3761
DOI
10.1108/jcm-12-2020-4289
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

While recent academic research on entomophagy has predominantly focused on adults, the purpose of this child-centred research is to obtain a better understanding of young consumer acceptance of insect-based foods.Design/methodology/approachTwo qualitative studies were conducted with a total of 43 French children aged 8–13 years. Study 1 (n = 22), based on semi-directive interviews, and Study 2 (n = 21), based on focus groups, included projective techniques and exposure to different types of insect-based products to help children express their feelings and thoughts.FindingsThe evidence shows that in Western children’s minds, insects are considered as culturally non-edible. Children predominantly reject insects as food because of their sensory properties and the disgust they arouse. However, their interest in eating insect-based food is embedded within experiential contexts specific to childhood, in particular the peer group, which makes insect-eating fun and challenging, and the family, which offers a protective and reassuring setting.Practical implicationsThe authors advocate changing children’s sensory perception of insect-eating food through sensory and participatory activities. Manufacturers and policymakers should also draw on children’s peer culture to associate insect-eating with positive social experiences and foster peer influence.Originality/valueDrawing on cognitive psychology theories and the literature in food science on food rejection, the authors contribute to emerging consumer research on alternative food consumption (AFC) focusing on cognitive, emotional and social factors of acceptance or rejection of insect-based foods by children.

Journal

Journal of Consumer MarketingEmerald Publishing

Published: Jul 25, 2022

Keywords: Children; Discontinuous innovation; Entomophagy; Food learning; Food sustainability

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