“Trying to change ‘Ick’ into ‘Yum’” is the heading of an article in the NY Times on how the Dutch are preparing their homeland market for insect food. The article is referring to the research done at Wageningen University on insects as food and Dutch government efforts to facilitate the insect breeding sector. Wholesaler Sligro sells insects, such as mealworms or locusts, mostly to restaurants. Will insects soon be in the supermarket? ‘Market penetration’ is certainly an ambition of the insect-as-food protagonists in the Netherlands. It seems, after decades in the margins, that momentum is building up for large scale introduction (see also this coming debate).
Not too many respondents had an ‘Ick’ reaction much to the surprise of the students of the Food Culture course. They found a remarkably high rate of respondents who were willing to try (60%). The respondents, mainly fellow students, often referred to the expected protein scarcity in the future and the environmental devastation associated with current livestock production. How to feed the world? Moral pressure by environmental consciousness may be an important factor in the willingness to accept insects as food. Another factor, which, at least in theory, should help consumer acceptance is to construct trendiness around eating insects. If Angelina Jolie is eating insects, we of course, cannot stay behind…where is the Dutch role model?