BugBias - Nudging consumers to overcome bias against insect-based foodstuff

Insects could be a more sustainable substitute for meat. The project investigated the bias of consumers towards insect-based foods with VR 360° videos. Different factors of the choice architecture were modulated with nudges.

Fiche signalétique

Situation

ITo date, there is little scientific evidence of the possibilities of the virtual reality (VR) technology on overcoming disgust associated with the consumption of insects. A study with consumers in a university environment was conducted in February 2020. The aim of the study was (1) to explore the influence of VR on overcoming the disgust related to eating insects and (2) to measure the effect of additional information concerning health benefits and sustainability when eating insects compared to meat.

Approche

Main leverage points to change the eating habits were identified with Group Model Building. Consumers were randomly assigned to one of three experimental conditions. All watched a 360° video on their smartphones. Videos showed a restaurant which offered a special grasshoppers dish. The 360° videos were enriched with different kinds of or no information on a board next to the food counter, regarding health or sustainability. After watching, consumers answered a questionnaire on insects as food.

Résultat

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the study had to be stopped which resulted in a total of 26 observations, which is insufficient to draw any firm conclusions. However, first results of this study hint that Swiss consumers are already aware of the health benefits and advantages in sustainability regarding the consumption of insects compared to meat. A change of attitude through VR in terms of overcoming disgust related to insect consumption could not be detected.

Perspectives

In a further study, we suggest offering a signature insect dish to compare the acceptance of the dish before and after watching the 360° video. Also, the technical limitations due to the poor quality of the 360° videos need to be tackled in future studies.