In a world marked by a continually expanding population, the demand for food that is deemed both healthy and safe is on a perpetual rise, yet the global food production system is viewed as unsustainable in terms of both its environmental impact and the exploitation of natural resources. Agriculture, livestock farming, and the industrial production of food all contribute significantly to the environmental impact of the global food system. Agriculture is the cornerstone of this system, providing food both directly and indirectly through the production of feed for livestock. The feed production system relies predominantly on soy cultivation, but it also exploits marine resources for the production of fish oil and fishmeal used as feed in aquaculture. A promising avenue of research addressing the sustainability challenges in feed production has recently come to light entailing the use of insects and algae as alternative feed ingredients. Insects and algae provide an outstanding and sustainable source of protein, and their use in animal feed presents a potential breakthrough. However, a significant hurdle has been encountered with respect to the use of insects: their acceptance among consumers, particularly in the Western countries, is exceedingly low. This reluctance is evident both in relation to the direct consumption of insects as food and when insects are utilized as ingredient in processed food or as feed for the production of animal-derived products. The overarching goal of this thesis was to unravel the reasons behind this phenomenon. To this end, we applied a multidisciplinary approach, involving a survey-consumer test, a questionnaire designed to calculate willingness to pay, and sensory analysis, to answer the following questions: Why is the acceptance of insects so low? What are the primary factors influencing this aspect? And how is the final product perceived from the taste perspective? The findings of this thesis, focused on an Italian cohort, reveal that the low acceptability of insects used as feed stems from a combination of sociodemographic, attitudinal, economic, and sensory quality factors. Food neophobia and reluctance to pay a premium for innovative products stand out as primary contributors to the low acceptance of insects. Additionally, in a comparison between an insect- and an algae-based product, the sensory preferences of consumers leaned more favourably towards the algae-based option. Despite these hurdles, the results underscore that sustainability attitudes and the provision of information regarding the benefits of incorporating insects in feed production play pivotal roles in shaping consumer behaviour positively. Consequently, certain consumer segments exhibit a greater inclination toward accepting this innovative approach. This carries noteworthy implications not only from a market perspective but also for the formulation of policies pertaining to the production and marketing of products derived from insects. In conclusion, this thesis underscores the considerable potential of using insects as feed for animal derived products consumed by Italians. Simultaneously, it emphasizes the importance of effectively communicating pertinent information about the benefits associated with their usage to consumers, aiming to alleviate the factors contributing to their currently low acceptability.

Insects in animal feed: a sociological evaluation of Italian consumer preferences for fish and poultry fed with alternative feed ingredients / Roccatello, Rosalba. - (2024 Jun 13), pp. -1.

Insects in animal feed: a sociological evaluation of Italian consumer preferences for fish and poultry fed with alternative feed ingredients.

Roccatello, Rosalba
2024-06-13

Abstract

In a world marked by a continually expanding population, the demand for food that is deemed both healthy and safe is on a perpetual rise, yet the global food production system is viewed as unsustainable in terms of both its environmental impact and the exploitation of natural resources. Agriculture, livestock farming, and the industrial production of food all contribute significantly to the environmental impact of the global food system. Agriculture is the cornerstone of this system, providing food both directly and indirectly through the production of feed for livestock. The feed production system relies predominantly on soy cultivation, but it also exploits marine resources for the production of fish oil and fishmeal used as feed in aquaculture. A promising avenue of research addressing the sustainability challenges in feed production has recently come to light entailing the use of insects and algae as alternative feed ingredients. Insects and algae provide an outstanding and sustainable source of protein, and their use in animal feed presents a potential breakthrough. However, a significant hurdle has been encountered with respect to the use of insects: their acceptance among consumers, particularly in the Western countries, is exceedingly low. This reluctance is evident both in relation to the direct consumption of insects as food and when insects are utilized as ingredient in processed food or as feed for the production of animal-derived products. The overarching goal of this thesis was to unravel the reasons behind this phenomenon. To this end, we applied a multidisciplinary approach, involving a survey-consumer test, a questionnaire designed to calculate willingness to pay, and sensory analysis, to answer the following questions: Why is the acceptance of insects so low? What are the primary factors influencing this aspect? And how is the final product perceived from the taste perspective? The findings of this thesis, focused on an Italian cohort, reveal that the low acceptability of insects used as feed stems from a combination of sociodemographic, attitudinal, economic, and sensory quality factors. Food neophobia and reluctance to pay a premium for innovative products stand out as primary contributors to the low acceptance of insects. Additionally, in a comparison between an insect- and an algae-based product, the sensory preferences of consumers leaned more favourably towards the algae-based option. Despite these hurdles, the results underscore that sustainability attitudes and the provision of information regarding the benefits of incorporating insects in feed production play pivotal roles in shaping consumer behaviour positively. Consequently, certain consumer segments exhibit a greater inclination toward accepting this innovative approach. This carries noteworthy implications not only from a market perspective but also for the formulation of policies pertaining to the production and marketing of products derived from insects. In conclusion, this thesis underscores the considerable potential of using insects as feed for animal derived products consumed by Italians. Simultaneously, it emphasizes the importance of effectively communicating pertinent information about the benefits associated with their usage to consumers, aiming to alleviate the factors contributing to their currently low acceptability.
13-giu-2024
XXXVI
2023-2024
Centro Agricoltura Alimenti Ambiente-C3A
Agrifood and Environmental Sciences
Dabbou, Sihem
Aprea, Eugenio
no
Inglese
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11572/411850
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