• Factors and conditions influencing the willingness of Irish consumers to try insects: a pilot study

      Kane, B.; Dermiki, M. (Teagasc, 2021-03-02)
      Entomophagy is being explored as a sustainable food source in Western countries to combat the ever-increasing effects of climate change. Studies conducted in various European countries determine the factors affecting willingness to consume insects. The current study aims to gain the first insight on this topic in Ireland, a country with a long farming tradition. A survey including open- and closed-ended questions was developed and sent to students and staff of an institute of technology in the West of Ireland. The willingness to consume insects and the factors affecting willingness to consume them under different conditions were assessed. It was found that less neophobic males who do not follow a particular diet were most receptive to entomophagy. People who were willing to try insects were less willing if the insects were to be eaten whole. People who were not willing were more inclined to do so if they were disguised or used to feed livestock. Food neophobia, disgust and safety concerns were barriers to acceptance. Tasty products containing disguised insects in familiar foods are the most likely to be accepted. Education and taste tests are recommended first steps to introducing entomophagy. Using insects to feed livestock has the potential to improve acceptance of entomophagy by introducing insects in the supply chain. However, further research should be conducted to assess acceptance of this amongst Irish farmers. The current study agrees with findings of studies conducted in other European countries and reveals the conditions under which insects could become acceptable among Irish consumers.