For the past month, we’ve been running an edible insects consumer survey in order to collect as much information as possible for the Food Standards Agency (FSA) here in the UK. They, along with other European agencies, are trying to figure out which insect species (if any) can go on being sold without the extra regulatory barriers they would face if they were to become “Novel Foods” (more details here).
Our survey asked the following questions:
- Which insects have you eaten?
- Which insects would you be likely to try?
- What types of insect products have you tried?
- What types of insect products would you be willing to try?
- What makes you or might make you want to try insects?
- Roughly how often do you eat insect-based food products or meals?
- How do insects fit into your diet?
- How much would you be willing to pay for 50 grams of ready-to-eat insects?
The survey is now closed and results have been sent off to the FSA. Many more people helped out than we thought would, so a big thanks to you all!
Here are the results (click to enlarge).
Overall a very positive response, if ever so slightly biased due to the interests of the type of people replying (mostly from those interested in Ecology, Sustainability, etc., on Facebook), but enlightening nonetheless!
Lastly, here are a few of the comments we received:
I believe that the current advice offered by the FSA, that the consumption of insects has sufficient precedent in Europe to not be subject to Novel Food regulation, is sound. Introducing stricter legislation would not only be unnecessary but would also be a major setback for companies in the UK developing these products.
After first eating tinned silkworms and chocolate covered ants in 1976 I didn’t eat anything else until last year when I started with crickets, scorpions and mealworms, doing it in order to expand my teaching activities around food and farming and add it on to foraging.
The sustainability and reduced effects on the environment (in comparison to other protein production) alone makes it worth trying to change people’s views on eating insects. This can only be done by having insects available to eat.
I would eat insects more if they were less expensive which with time they are likely going to be, and that they were more readily available.
…and wrapping up with my personal favourite:
I see no need to eat insects. They deserve to be left to get on with whatever insects do.