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Acceptability of insect ingredients by innovative student chefs : an exploratory study

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Amsterdam : Elsevier
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Background: In Western societies, the acceptability of entomophagy is low despite the sustainable and nutritional benefits of insects. It is recognized that insect meals incorporated in into familiar foods increases willingness to eat insects. Chefs can offer positive culinary insect-based experiences to their customers which can then contribute to increasing the acceptability of entomophagy by consumers. However, little is known about chefs' perceptions of the use of insect-based ingredients. Objective: The aim of this study was to explore the reasons why innovative student chefs are willing (or not) to incorporate mealworms meals into their dishes. Methodology: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 7 innovative student chefs at the Institut de tourisme et d'hôtellerie du Québec (ITHQ). Thematic analysis based on a priori Rogers' Diffusion of Innovation Theory was conducted using transcript verbatim. Results: Most participants had a past consumption experience with entomophagy and all of them had a positive attitude toward this practice. The main perceived disadvantages of mealworm meal was the texture (granular and uneven), the odor as well as the low acceptability by consumers. Despite that, student chefs were generally willing to use insect-based ingredients, but they thought that transparency and more opportunities for consumers to try good insect-based dishes are keys to enhancing the acceptability of insect consumption. Conclusion: Understanding perceptions of innovative chefs about the use of insect-based ingredients can help to promote their use in gastronomy and ultimately improve their acceptability by consumers.
International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science, Vol. 24, 100362 (2021)
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Entomophagy , Edible insect meal , Qualitative study , Diffusion of Innovation Theory
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article de recherche