A cross-sectional study of the willingness to consume insects in a culture without entomophagy
Entomophagy is the technical term for eating insects and traditionally a part of daily diet in many tropical and subtropical countries. The rapidly increasing world population, industry and human-induced environmental pollution, and global warming reduce agricultural lands and clean water resources and make it difficult to produce sufficient food and therefore protein. Although edible insects are a promising opportunity as they require fewer natural resources than other animal foods, they are not considered as the food of the future in many Western countries for reasons such as disgust. A growing body of research in a diverse array of cultural contexts has examined people’s attitudes towards eating insects, but this work has not yet included Türkiye, a country with a well-established traditional cuisine and where entomophagy is highly novel. This study examined attitudes toward eating insects, and predictors thereof, in a large Turkish community sample (n = 914). For willingness to eat whole insects, age was a significant positive predictor, and food neophobia, disgust sensitivity, and being female were negative predictors for both whole insects and insect flour foods. For both types of insect foods, disgust was a negative predictor and belief in the benefits of eating insects was a positive predictor. This pattern of results is concordant with work from many other cultural contexts in the Americas, Asia, and Western Europe, providing further evidence for the importance of reducing food neophobia and disgust sensitivity and providing information about the benefits of insect foods in order to improve attitudes toward entomophagy.