A new survey suggests 57% of consumers would not try cookies made with cricket flour, Meatingplace reports.
Conducted by Oklahoma State University’s Department of Agricultural Economics, the April Food Demand Survey (FooDS) asked a series of questions about consumers’ willingness to try foods made with cricket flour. For cricket flour cookies, 57% of those given a text-only description of the cookies said they would not be willing to try them. When the text was accompanied by a picture, willingness to try them improved, and 48% said they would not try the cookies. Cricket flour milkshakes were even less appealing.
- PepsiCo is among the companies seeking ways to use insect protein. It has posted a request on open innovation site NineSights looking for novel protein sources, including insect protein, for use in snacks and beverages.
Although many consumers currently are reluctant to try foods made with insect protein, attitudes can — and do — change. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization cites sushi as an example, considering that raw fish was once a similar subject of disgust among many Westerners. Around two billion people around the world already habitually eat insects.
This is not the first time that a study has shown continuing reluctance among Western consumers to try insect protein. A similar survey conducted in The Netherlands last year found that about half of participants did not want to try insects in any form, whether whole or as an ingredient in processed food products.
But there is also a glass-half-full way of looking at these latest survey results: although 57% of respondents said they would not be willing to try cricket flour cookies, about a third said they would try them — quite a significant proportion for something that many participants had likely never heard of. When shown a picture of the cookies, this jumped by nine percentage points, suggesting that marketing could make a real difference.
The fact that PepsiCo is exploring the use of insect-based flours for its snack products is also an encouraging sign for the insect ingredients sector. If the company does launch a product with insect protein, putting its marketing clout behind the ingredient could have a significant impact on consumer attitudes. And where a major manufacturer like PepsiCo leads, others are sure to follow.