How do edible insects fly among Swedish consumers? : Exploring consumers’ evaluation of edible insects as a meat substitute

University essay from Högskolan i Jönköping/IHH, Företagsekonomi; Högskolan i Jönköping/IHH, Företagsekonomi

Abstract: Purpose: The purpose of this qualitative research paper was to explore how consumers with an environmental identity evaluate new, environmentally friendly substitutes for meat, with edible insects given as an example. Problem: An increasing number of Swedish consumers show an overall negative attitude towards consuming meat, mainly due to environmental concerns, and express this by identifying themselves as vegetarians or flexitarian. Edible insects possess the potential to become an environmentally friendly, nutritious and innovative meat substitute in Sweden. Although the demand for new environmentally friendly meat substitutes is high, the intentions of consuming edible insects are low in Western societies. This causes researchers to ask why this conflict is.                                                                                                                               Methodology: In order to fulfill the purpose and to answer the research question, a qualitative research approach was adopted. Eight semi-structured interviews were used in the empirical data collection process. The chosen target group was vegetarians and flexitarians of Generation Y, and the sample was chosen through judgmental sampling.                                                                                                                                 Findings: This empirical study examines an extensive confusion and conflicted standpoints among consumers when evaluating edible insects. However, the authors examine a high willingness and positive attitude towards consuming edible insects. Five key factors that influence the evaluation of edible as a meat substitute have been identified: the animalistic qualities of insects, if insects are perceived as meat or vegetarian, if edible insects are ‘green’, proof and facts, and what product category edible insects belong to.

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