Paying for Sustainable Food Choices: The Role of Environmental Considerations in Consumer Valuation of Insect-Based Foods

Peter Michel, T Begho*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
99 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Substituting conventional animal protein sources with insects is increasingly seen as a strategy for reducing the environmental footprint of modern diets. Nonetheless, insects remain highly contentious and tend to provoke disgust in Western populations. Few studies have explored consumer attitudes towards insect-based foods (IBFs) in the UK. This paper profiles UK consumers in terms of beliefs and attitudes towards IBFs, and explores the impact environmental information has on the valuation of IBFs. Besides demographic characteristics, the influence of psychological factors (food neophobia, eco-consciousness, and perceptions of personal agency over environmental problems) on willingness to pay for IBFs were examined. Participants (N = 248), half of whom received an informational briefing on the environmental advantages of IBFs, completed an online survey and choice experiment featuring cricket powder and pork-based sausages. Exposure to the information treatment resulted in consistently higher valuations of cricket-containing sausages, although the price penalties assigned to IBFs remained substantial in most cases. Being high in eco-consciousness and perceived agency and low in food neophobia correlated with higher valuations of IBFs. The results of this study highlight the challenges associated with expanding the edible insect market in Western countries, as well as the opportunity for education to help promote the uptake of IBFs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104816
JournalFood Quality and Preference
Volume106
Early online date21 Jan 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPrint publication - Feb 2023

Keywords

  • Entomophagy
  • Sustainable Food
  • Eco-friendly alternatives
  • Discrete choice experiment
  • Willingness to pay
  • Sustainable food

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