The willingness to consume insect-based food: an empirical research on Italian consumers

Nowadays, scholars, entrepreneurs and policy makers focus their attention on food-related health challenges, nutritional value and food safety. Among these themes, the use of processed animal protein developed from insects as alternative food source is increasingly debated. The main goal of this paper is to contribute to filling this gap with an empirical analysis focused on the willingness of Italian potential consumers to eat insect-based food. By applying the conjoint analysis technique, the study identifies the cause of consumers’ reactions to novel food based on cultural bias rather than on ‘neophobia in itself’ or on knowledge about the product. In this new scenario, the companies operating in the food sector could reduce this bias by devising effective marketing strategies that are oriented to underline the link between consumption of insect-based food and the associated nutritional benefit. In other terms, consumption based on cultural elements can be seen as the result of a strategic dynamic process.

© 2019 Czech Academy of Agricultural Sciences