Customization of Insect Proteins: Interplay between functional properties, sensory performance and consumer acceptance of insects and insect-containing foods.
Insects are a valuable source of food in many countries, valued for its high nutritional quality, naturalness and excellent sensory properties. They are also a sustainable alternative to traditional source of meats and could potentially contribute towards limiting the growth of meat consumption trends and growing world population. However, there still remains many barriers to the acceptance of insects as food, especially in Western cultures where insects are not perceived as food. This project studies the relationships between the consumer psychology, product properties and sensory perception that determine the acceptance of insect-containing foods.
This project aims to understand and improve the acceptability of foods containing insects by studying the relationships between three closely connected research lines:
1. Physical-chemical properties
2. Sensory perception
3. Consumer behavior
Based on the fundamental understanding of the relationships of the above, this project will provide design rules for the development of insect-containing foods of excellent palatability.
This project begins with the exploration of how different factors related to the product and consumer would influence consumer perception of various insect products, to dig deeper into the motivations and expectations that determine what we accept on our plates. This would be continued with the characterization of the physical-chemical properties of selected insects in relation to its sensory properties. The third stage will delve into how information and product properties can be manipulated to achieve products that are acceptable in relation to consumer expectations and sensory quality.