Thursday, February 8, 2018

Brave, health-conscious, and environmentally friendly: Positive impressions of insect consumers

Brave, health-conscious, and environmentally friendly: Positive impressions of insect food product consumers. Christina Hartmann et al. Food Quality and Preference,

•    Insect food product consumers were seen as health-conscious, eco-friendly, and brave.
•    Consumers of vegetarian alternatives were perceived as more moral but less tolerant.
•    Insect and vegetarian menus were evaluated as healthier then the meat menu.
•    Insect-based meat alternative was evaluated as healthy as a vegetarian alternative.

Abstract: Prior results suggest that people who follow a vegetarian diet or consume meat alternatives, such as insects, might be perceived negatively. In two experimental studies, both the shopping list method and a vignette approach were used to assess underlying impressions of these consumer groups. The aim of the first study was to explore how someone with insect-based or vegetarian burgers on their shopping list is perceived compared to someone purchasing beef burgers. Study participants (N = 598) were randomly assigned to one of three shopping list conditions and evaluated the owner of the list on 16 bipolar attributes (e.g., disciplined, health-conscious, popular). In the second study, a new set of participants (N = 617) was randomly assigned to one of three conditions. They read a short description about a hypothetical person who either chose a lunch menu with insect schnitzel, vegetarian schnitzel or pork schnitzel to elicit an evaluation of this person. The same personality attributes as in Study 1 were assessed. The results of both studies showed that consumers of insect and vegetarian products were perceived as more health-conscious, environmentally friendly, imaginative, brave, interesting, and knowledgeable than meat consumers. Notably, the vegetarian and insect alternatives were evaluated as healthier than the meat option. Given the relatively positive image of people who consume alternatives to traditional meat proteins identified in the present study, the social influence of people who visibly consume such products may be high.

Keywords: Insects; Vegetarian; Impressions; Shopping list; Vignette study; Alternative proteins; Personality

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