Cricket flour is about to hit supermarket shelves, but Italians don’t seem ready for this gastronomic innovation. Although almost one in 5 (19%) said they were quite knowledgeable on the subject, only slightly more than one in 10 (15%) would bring foods made with cricket flour to the table. For at least half of Italians, on the other hand, it is an absolute no to this type of product. Those against are concentrated above all in the South. Furthermore, only 24% of the sample is in favor of the sale and 21% of the production of foods containing cricket flour.
This is the photograph taken by a flash survey of the EngageMinds Hub, the Research Center of the Catholic University, Cremona campus, which detects the behaviors and habits of Italians through a continuous Monitor, returning a psychological analysis.
The total sample therefore shows a generic hostility towards the product (53%) and disgust is the main obstacle to consumption for 68% of people who do not intend to consume these products even in the future. Unfamiliarity follows, i.e. misinformation on the subject (31%), concerns about food safety (29%), and the price (16%). In fact, a kg of cricket flour costs between 70 and 80 euros. On the other hand, among people interested in consumption, motivations emerge that are considered positive such as curiosity and sustainability, respectively 64% and 56%, followed by a group, 35%, who would do so for nutritional intake. Cricket flour actually contains a significant amount of protein, as well as fiber, minerals like iron and calcium, and vitamins like B12.
“I would like to underline how much the aspect of sustainability above all is influential on the people who have expressed the emotion of curiosity for the consumption of cricket flour – comments Guendalina Graffigna, professor at the Catholic University and director of the EngageMinds Hub – Among those who intend to consumption, curiosity is one of the major drivers (reported by 64%), a percentage that rises to 73% among those who are particularly sensitive to environmental issues”.
“Italians – continues Graffigna – seem overall rather ‘hostile’ towards products with cricket flour: 47% of the sample believes that they can also put culinary traditions at risk. Not only that. The survey shows that 44% believe that the European Union should not have authorized its sale. These data are an expression of cultural barriers that are difficult to break down – he underlines – Cricket flour is gaining interest as a sustainable source of protein, but it is a process that could still take some time to become more widespread and accepted in the Italian food culture.From this point of view, a lot will be played out on the front of correct communication – says the expert – to help bridge, as has happened in other cases, the gap between scientific knowledge and consumer perception In the next few months we will focus precisely on this theme in a research carried out for the Agorà Network, a network which in Cremona, thanks to the contribution of local institutions, connects Catholic universities and businesses”.
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