A newly published study from Uppsala University and SLU investigated how insects have been perceived as food historically and globally. Food attitudes can quickly change, the researchers conclude.
In search for new sources of protein to feed the world’s growing population, the interest in insects is rising. In large parts of the world, it is not strange to eat insects, but in Europe it has never been particularly common. On the contrary, it seems that Swedes do not eat insects even if they have been hungry, according to a new study.
But the researchers conclude that food habits and attitudes can change quite quickly – it has happened with other foods.
– We know that we cannot continue as today when it comes to food production. It is not sustainable. And when the demand for protein increases globally, mass breeding of insects may play an important role, researcher Åsa Berggren says. She completed the study together with Ingvar Svanberg, who adds:
– There is a lot we eat today that we did not eat a generation ago, such as sushi and tofu. The Swede in general seems to be quite willing to try new foods, as long as they are packaged in an attractive way, says Ingvar Svanberg.
While there are a few traditions found I Europe – for example, that they eat grasshoppers in France and Russia, there is not much information from Sweden about people eating insects. Brandy spiced with ants is the best-known example. The study was recently published in the journal Food, Culture & Society.
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