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EMAC 2023 Annual

Can I bug you? Using edible insects as a prime for more sustainable food choice

Published: May 24, 2023


Pernille Videbaek, Department of Management, Aarhus University; Wim Verbeke, Ghent University


Edible insects have been examined as a promising alternative protein source, but Western con-sumers are still sceptical and often reject insect products based on disgust. The aim of the current study is to examine if insect can instead be used as a prime for more sustainable food choice. An online experimental survey with a Danish sample (n=316) was run in order to test the impact in-sects have on food choice in a restaurant setting. It was hypothesised that having a high level of objective knowledge of edible insects would make the respondents more susceptible to the prime. Similarly, an intention to eat more sustainably would also make the respondents more susceptible to the prime. The presence of insects in the choice environment was found to have an effect on food choice, pushing it in a more sustainable direction. Edible insects could function as a trigger food for more sustainable food choice until Western consumers become more familiar with them and thereby ready to adopt.