Australian consumers’ response to insects as food
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Many research articles have been published about people’s perceptions and acceptance of eating insects as novel foods in Western countries; however, only a few studies have focused on Australian consumers. The aim of this work is to explore attitudes towards edible insects of younger Australians (Millennials and Generation Z) with data collection carried out in Sydney, Australia. Two representative surveys were conducted in 2018 and 2019 using open-ended questions. The main findings suggest that there is low willingness to accept edible insects as a meat substitute among Australian consumers, due mainly to the strong psychological barriers such as neophobia and disgust, combined with a perception about threats to masculinity. Environmental and nutritional benefits, even when recognised, do not seem to influence consumers to consider insects as a food alternative. In the near future, as young people become more aware of sustainability and climate change issues related to food production, the impact of the potential benefits of insects might grow. Furthermore, a positive sensory experience might improve the acceptability of insects as food. Introducing new processed, insect-based products may help establish familiarity with such novel food options and open up new business opportunities.
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