Whether you like it or not, edible insects won’t go away. For years, people living in the western world have been bombarded with pro-edible insect propaganda. Despite being constantly exposed to information that claims edible insects are a healthy alternative to livestock meat, many Americans and other westerners refuse to cozy up to the idea of eating bugs. However, a new marketing trend may use psychological trickery in order to make westerners into edible insect consumers, and there does exist sound scientific evidence that suggests that this marketing tactic could be a success. To put it simply, edible insect advertising will present bugs as luxury foods. Of course, everybody wants nice things, as luxury goods don’t just offer a superior product, but being seen in possession of luxury goods, such as certain cars or foods, can enhance social status. Soon, edible insects may become just as luxurious as caviar.
Several researchers from the University of Bern have published a study suggesting that people will become more willing to consume edible insects if they are advertised as being luxury food items. Unfortunately, this also means that edible insect products will come at a greater financial cost to consumers. One of the benefits of having edible insects replace livestock as a primary protein source is the relatively low cost of raising and distributing mass amounts of edible insects to consumers. Unlike livestock production, edible insect production does not require large swaths of expensive land for grazing. Also, the industrial machinery that is used to convert livestock into safe-to-eat products for consumers is an expense that edible insect entrepreneurs do not have to pay. Considering the dramatically low cost of edible insect production compared to meat production, edible insects should be a relatively cheap source of protein. The low cost of edible insects is precisely why some experts believe that edible insects could provide malnourished people living in impoverished countries with an affordable and nutrient-rich food source. Considering this, it is ironic that Americans may only begin to eat edible insects once they become expensive. The author of the recent psychology study on this topic even claimed that, in the west, it might be counterintuitive to encourage edible insect consumption by making edible insect products cheap. The study demonstrated that edible insects can immediately be made more appealing to westerners if they are priced as luxury foods. This finding is in line with previous studies concerning consumer behavior in the west.
Do you find it surprising that Americans and other westerners may only consider an edible insect diet if edible insect products are made more expensive?
Tags: Insect Control, Insects