Supplementary materials for Journal of Insects as Food and Feed manuscript 23524588-20230024: Survey on public acceptance of insects as novel food in a non-EU country: a case study of Serbia
The present study aimed to evaluate the state of public perceptions and acceptance of insects as food in Serbia. The data was gathered via an online survey involving 1,102 participants who completed Google Forms questionnaire shared through mailing lists and social media channels. The findings indicate that, while 85.3% of the respondents were aware of the use of insects in human diet, only 12.5% had previously consumed edible insects. The results of the chi-square tests further revealed that both familiarity and experience significantly affected willingness to buy insect-based food, whereas age and educational attainment did not. Men were more open to purchasing edible insects than women. Twice as many participants (49.4%) responded positively to eating insect-based food in which insects were not visible than to consuming recognisable insects (25.4%). Crisis (shortage of conventional sources of protein), curiosity, nutrition, and health benefits were the most frequently chosen reasons for including insect-based products in a diet, whereas disgust was the main reason against. Multiple correspondence analysis resulted in two dimensions that accounted for the largest amount of variance. The first dimension referred to familiarity with entomophagy, experience of eating edible insects, and willingness to buy insect-based products, whereby sustainability, affordability, taste, nutrition, and curiosity were the reasons for including insect-based products in a diet, while high price was a reason against. The second dimension indicated lack of familiarity, experience, or willingness to buy, with crisis as the most common motivating reason, and the perception of insects as pests and socio-cultural unacceptance as the main reasons against. Although almost half of the respondents reported willingness to consume processed insect-based products, the actual acceptance is possibly lower. Therefore, future research should focus on the provision of tasting opportunities as well as information on the benefits associated with the production and consumption of insects.