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Open AccessArticle

Assessing the Role of Food Related Lifestyle in Predicting Intention towards Edible Insects

1
Department of Political Sciences, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, 80138 Napoli, Italy
2
MAPP Centre, Aarhus University, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark
3
School of Marketing and Communication, University of Vaasa, 65101 Vaasa, Finland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Insects 2020, 11(10), 660; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11100660
Received: 21 August 2020 / Revised: 17 September 2020 / Accepted: 23 September 2020 / Published: 25 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Edible Insects and Global Food Security)
The unsustainability of food production is still a major contributor to climate change, therefore utilising new and sustainable food sources is a priority. Edible insects have been part of the human diet for thousands of years but not yet accepted in Western societies, despite a growing literature around the subject. In this paper, we used a holistic approach to understand and predict consumer behaviour in relation to food choices and to edible insects, in particular. Through a questionnaire we collected 300 answers from Italian and Danish consumers; after that, using a statistical model, we divided bystanders into 5 different groups in order to single out consumers who are willing to adopt insects as food. The outcomes of this study have shown that the novelty and benefits of insect consumption have generated much interest in edible insects amongst consumers belonging to the “rational” group, or people who are showing an interested and critical behaviour while shopping for food, who showed the highest intention to eat insects. Therefore, pointing to a group of early adopters, as could be the Rational consumers (20% of our sample), can lay the foundation for a broader commercial development of edible insects with a higher degree of acceptance among consumers.
Although recent literature has shown that switching to an insect-based diet could provide several relevant advantages—from a nutritional, environmental, economic and ecological point of view—the potential growth of insects as everyday food is still unclear. Despite a growing literature on consumer acceptance and product preference for insect-based food, a segmentation of this future and possible market has never been proposed. Therefore, in the present paper, a market segmentation based on the Food Related Lifestyle Scale (FRLS), was performed in order to predict consumers’ willingness to eat (WTE) edible insects. Moreover, the role of perceived behavioural control is taken into account. Results shows that the novelty and benefits of insect consumption have generated much interest in edible insects amongst consumers belonging to the Rational cluster, who showed the highest intention to introduce insects in their diet, thus confirming the presence of a niche of “early adopters”. In addition, perceived behavioural control was the major driver of intention. Implications for attempts to encourage people to incorporate insect-based foods into their diet are discussed, with special reference to the role of marketing campaigns. View Full-Text
Keywords: insects; FRLS; perceived behavioural control; intention; consumer behaviour insects; FRLS; perceived behavioural control; intention; consumer behaviour
MDPI and ACS Style

Verneau, F.; La Barbera, F.; Amato, M.; Riverso, R.; Grunert, K.G. Assessing the Role of Food Related Lifestyle in Predicting Intention towards Edible Insects. Insects 2020, 11, 660.

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