Department of Management

The effects of consumer knowledge on the willingness to buy insect food: An exploratory cross-regional study in Northern and Central Europe

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  • Samuel Piha, University of Turku, Finland
  • Terhi Pohjanheimo, University of Turku, Finland
  • Anu Lähteenmäki-Uutela, University of Turku, Finland
  • Zuzana Krecková , University of Economics, Czech Republic
  • Tobias Otterbring, Karlstad University

This exploratory study investigates how consumer knowledge influences willingness to buy (WTB) insect food products. A comparative approach between Northern and Central Europe is adopted to explore whether consumer knowledge has different effects on WTB across cultural areas in Europe. The study analyses consumer survey data collected in Finland, Sweden, Germany, and the Czech Republic (N = 887) with structural equation modelling and multi-group models. The results suggest that the effects of distinct types of knowledge and food neophobia on WTB are mainly indirect and mediated by general attitudes, with these effects differing significantly between Northern and Central Europe. In Northern Europe, the consumers’ objective and subjective knowledge of insect food predict WTB as much as previous product-related experiences and food neophobia. In Central Europe, product-related experiences and food neophobia are superior predictors to subjective and objective knowledge. Moreover, consumers in Northern Europe generally have a more positive attitude towards insect food than consumers in Central Europe. Possible explanations for the regional differences are discussed, and implications are suggested on how the region-specific features should be regarded when developing consumer education and promotion strategies for insect food.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFood Quality and Preference
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Research areas

  • Food neophobia, Insect food, Objective knowledge, Product-related experiences, Subjective knowledge, Willingness to buy

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