Encouraging willingness to try insect foods with a utility-value intervention



Stone H, FitzGibbon L, Millan E & Murayama K (2023) Encouraging willingness to try insect foods with a utility-value intervention. Appetite, 190, Art. No.: 107002.

Despite the benefits of eating insects (entomophagy), Western society is often inclined to reject this practice based on initial reactions of disgust. It is suggested there is potential to overcome this attitude through increasing interest and gaining knowledge of the benefits. One way to accomplish this is through an adapted utility-value intervention, traditionally applied in education research, to increase interest and perceived value in a topic. Across two studies (each with a one-month follow-up) participants researched and wrote an essay designed to increase interest and value in entomophagy or a control essay. Participants then completed a rating task assessing their willingness to try insect and familiar foods, along with other key attributes (e.g., sustainability). The utility-value intervention increased willingness to try insect foods as well as other key attributes compared to a non-insect control essay (Study 1). Unexpectedly, we also found a potentially similar (but smaller) effect of researching an insect-based recipe (Study 2) on willingness to try. The effects found in both studies were consistent at follow-up. These findings indicate the usefulness of utility-value interventions in encouraging entomophagy but also suggest that exposure to information about insect food, although less effective than a utility-value intervention, may also be sufficient.

Interest; Entomophagy; Willingness to try; Utility value; Insects

Appetite: Volume 190

FundersThe Leverhulme Trust
Publication date30/11/2023
Publication date online31/08/2023
Date accepted by journal14/08/2023
PublisherElsevier BV

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Dr Lily FitzGibbon

Dr Lily FitzGibbon

Lecturer in Psychology, Psychology