Flemish reluctant to replace meat by insects

Two out of three Flemings who eat meat say that they are not prepared to switch to insects as a nutritional replacement. Young males with an appetite for adventure and are concerned about the environment are most eager to make the switch.

Researchers at Ghent University quizzed 400 Flemings: only 3% are eager to make the switch to eating insects instead of meat. 16% say that they are prepared to consider the idea. A further 16% are clearly in two minds about the enterprise. A further 34% are not prepared to countenance the idea, while 31% are definitely not willing to.

Wim Verbeke, professor of agro-food marketing and consumer behaviour: "This confirms the often cited resistance in the West to eating insects. Still, there is a clear preparedness among one in five consumers. We believe that there will be greater preparedness to eat insects as an ingredient or as a snack and are less recognisable. In our research we focused on insects as meat-replacement."

Men are twice as prepared as women to consider insects as food. Age also plays a role. Add ten years and preparedness drops by over a quarter.

Wim Verbeke says that consumers also show resistance because they are uncertain with regard to the technology used in the production and any risks that may be linked to the production method.

People who are interested in the impact that their food choices have on the environment are more prepared to look at insects. The research showed that consumers are not convinced of the health advantages of eating insects.