Acceptance of Insects as Food: An Exploratory Study of Young Consumers in Macau
Keywords:Insects as food, entomophagy, edible insects, consumer behaviour, environmental footprint, food security, theory of planned behaviour, attitude, behavioural control, dietry habit, nutritional practice
Substitute foods are increasingly popular to reduce our environmental footprint and promote food security. As the world population is expected to grow and food resources become scarce, insects as food have recently gained attention as a viable alternative. In the present study, a model grounded on the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) is proposed and analyzed through structural equation modeling software (SmartPLS) to assess consumers' intentions toward insects as food. Except for subjective norm, both attitude and perceived behavioral control were key determinants of intention and, in turn, of actual use behaviour. Despite insects being consumed in nearly 1/4 of the sample (for instance in Chinese medicine), the study found that respondents were on average relatively unwilling to use them as a dietary habit. Also, it appeared that men were more likely to consume insects as food than women. The insights of our study have important implications for practitioners and policymakers seeking to promote sustainable nutritional practices among consumers. This study is particularly relevant for Macau, as the city positions itself as a "UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy" with the aim to develop internationally a unique and sustainable food image.
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