Many vegetarians and vegan vegans who are not vegans are open to incorporate insects into their diet. However, for Vegan it is not an option, shows a new study from the University of Eastern Finland.
Consumption of insect food is encouraged in response to the impact of meat production on the environment. Foods made from insects have relatively low ecological footprint, and due to the high content of nutrients they can be a viable addition to our existing protein sources.
In Western countries, insects are traditionally not considered food, and the willingness of consumers to eat insect food is poor. However, the likelihood of accepting insects as food increases with consumer awareness of the impact of food production on the environment.
Researchers from the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Helsinki have explored the intentions of consumers to consume food from insects among vegans, vegetarians who are not vegans and grandchildren. They investigated attitude, subjective norm, perceived behavior control, and neophila food for consumption of insect origin foods, as well as conditions for insect-based food consumption among these groups. A total of 567 people participated in the survey by completing an online survey. Of the respondents, 73% are swarms, 22% are non-vegan vegetarians, and 5% are vegans.
Vegans kept the sharpest negative attitude towards eating insect origin foods, and their subjective norm to eat insects was weaker than those of omnivores and non vegan vegetarians. Vegan perceived behavioral control over their consumption of insects was stronger compared to those in non-vegan vegans and vegetarians. Furthermore, vegans were much more determined than others to not eat food from insects, even if they are nutritious, safe, affordable, and convenient. Vegan weak intentions, negative attitude, and low readiness to eat insects in the future show their different dietary identity as compared to the identity of non-vegan vegetarians.
Non-vegan vegetarians, on the other hand, held the most positive attitude towards eating insects, and vegetarians and non-vegan vegans thought the consumption of insects was wise and offered a solution to the world's nutritional problems. By contrast, vegans considered the consumption of insects irresponsible and morally wrong.
"This is something we expected: we expected the differences between these three groups and we expected vegans to have the most negative attitude towards eating insects. Vegans see insects as living beings, like all other animals. the world's lack of food, especially when edible food is lost all the time, says Professor Anna-Liisa Elorinne from the University of Eastern Finland.
However, the results can not be generalized to all the individuals that represent the investigated food category. The researchers used practical sampling, which probably gave rise to bias in choosing a more positive attitude towards injecting consumption among respondents compared to the population in general. Furthermore, respondents were mostly women, highly educated and city dwellers, a demographic profile that is known to affect food choice.
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