School children cooking and eating insects as part of a teaching program – Effects of cooking, insect type, tasting order and food neophobia on hedonic response

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Edible insects have been promoted as an alternative sustainable source of protein, however many are still unwilling to eat insects due to the perceived disgust and neophobia. In light of the growing demand for alternative protein sources, this study examined edible insects. Tactile stimuli with food have been demonstrated to be an alternative strategy to reduce children's natural neophobic reactions. The present study aims to examine the potential of tactile interactions in the form of a cooking activity to introduce edible insects to children. To this purpose, two types of insects (grasshopper and mealworm) were incorporated into a traditional Danish snack (oatmeal balls). Children (n = 148) tasted and evaluated the food that was either self-prepared or other-prepared. Tasting order and type of insect had significant effects on the hedonic response. The insect oatmeal balls were rated higher in the first tasting compared to the second. The mealworm version of the oatmeal balls received higher hedonic ratings than the grasshopper version. This we propose, is caused by different degrees of ‘animalness’ of the two insects. The cooking activity did not have a significant effect on children's hedonic response to the insect oatmeal balls.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104027
JournalFood Quality and Preference
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Research areas

  • Children, Cooking, Hedonic response, Insect eating, Tactile interaction

ID: 247209585