Eating full circle: Exploring consumers’ sympathy for circularity in entomophagy acceptance

Dagevos, Hans; Taufik, Danny


Insect production is recently linked to circular economy’ principles. The idea of circularity as a possible asset in consumer acceptance and adoption of eating insects, however, is understudied as yet. This paper is the first exploratory study of consumers’ sympathy for circularity as a distinctive feature of insects as food and feed to their acceptance of eating insects (i.e., entomophagy). Being an innovative study, much attention is devoted to the elaboration of the questionnaire used. This study finds that consumer sympathy for entomophagy of the participants (N = 1055) in this study increases modestly, albeit statistically significant and in a robust way, as a result of providing information about environmental, circular benefits of entomophagy. It further demonstrates that sustainability-conscious consumers are not specifically sensitive to consuming insects, relative to those for whom sustainability plays a less important part in their lives. Another finding of this study is that information on circular benefits of insects as food does not just override feelings of disgust evoked by entomophagy. Finally, this study corroborates that processed insect-based foods in which insects are invisible are more acceptable than the consumption of whole insects.