Consumer associations and preferences surrounding insects as food : a descriptive study of South Africa and Sweden

University essay from Högskolan Kristianstad/Fakulteten för naturvetenskap

Abstract: Insects as food is a subject that has gained a lot of attention in recent time. In order for insect-food to become popular in the west, where insects are currently not consumed, research has to be done on how consumers perceive insect-food, and which consumer groups that eat insects in other countries. This will give a picture of how insects can and should be used on the Swedish market. The purpose of the thesis is to research consumer associations and preferences of insect consumption in Sweden and South Africa. The study examines the question of which consumer groups that eat insects in either country, what associations and preferences consumers have of insect-eating, and how insects can be used in food in the future. An online questionnaire concerning associations, preferences and experiences of insect consumption was distributed in both countries, and was answered by 73 participants. Three producers of insects were interviewed in Sweden and South Africa to get an understanding of the production stage of insects and their experiences of the industry and the consumers, now and in the future. Entomophagy was not found to be more prevalent in any group in neither Sweden nor South Africa. When used in food, consumers prefer insects to be ground into a powder. The South African respondents who had previously eaten insects mainly as an everyday meal preferred the insects to be served whole while the others preferred the insects to be ground into a powder. Insects are often associated with being nutritious, cheap, and being environmentally friendly, as well as with unfamiliarity and disgust.

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