Environmental Perspectives on Entomophagy: Can Behavioural Interventions Influence Consumer Preference for Edible Insects?

36 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2022

See all articles by Helen X. H. Bao

Helen X. H. Bao

Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge

Yuna Song

University of Cambridge

Date Written: January 7, 2022

Abstract

Compared with meats, edible insects taste just as good, are equally or even more nutritious, and have a significantly smaller environmental footprint. However, the adoption of entomophagy is still limited, particularly in Western countries. Considering the environmental benefits of entomophagy and its potential contribution to food security, it is important to understand factors that can influence the willingness to try edible insects as meat substitutes, and policy tools that can encourage the adoption of entomophagy. This research conducts online randomised controlled trials in New York, USA to test the effect of a wide range of personal traits (e.g., existing knowledge about entomophagy, gender and age) and a behavioural intervention combining social norm nudges and information boosts. Our findings suggest that behavioural interventions are cost-effective tools to promote the adoption of entomophagy; consumers can be nudged and educated on the basis of the environmental consequences of their individual food choices and are receptive to adopting entomophagy as a sustainable alternative to animal protein.

Keywords: Heuristics, behavioural biases, sustainability, conservation, food choices

JEL Classification: D91, Q50, Q58

Suggested Citation

Bao, Helen X. H. and Song, Yuna, Environmental Perspectives on Entomophagy: Can Behavioural Interventions Influence Consumer Preference for Edible Insects? (January 7, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4003522 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4003522

Helen X. H. Bao (Contact Author)

Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge ( email )

19 Silver Street
Cambridge, CB3 9EP
United Kingdom

Yuna Song

University of Cambridge ( email )

Trinity Ln
Cambridge, CB2 1TN
United Kingdom

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