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Title: Public acceptance of insects as food in the Netherlands
Author: House, Jonas
ISNI:       0000 0004 7431 8660
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2018
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In the context of efforts to increase the sustainability of the current agri-food system, a particular focus has been meat consumption, which is associated with public health problems and environmental damage. One proposed means of reducing meat consumption in Europe and the US (the ‘West’) is the use of insects as a high protein, resource-efficient alternative to conventional meat. Western interest in the area has increased in recent years and various insect-based foods are now available, yet uptake remains low. The issue of public acceptance of insects as food remains problematic. However, what exactly public acceptance involves, and how it may be achieved, have been unclear. Academic research investigating the topic typically propounds a highly individualistic notion of public acceptance. Further, little has engaged with consumption of insect-based foods in a ‘real life’ context. This thesis addresses these limitations, investigating the public acceptance of commercially-available insect-based foods in the Netherlands (the foremost Western country in the research, production, sale and advocacy of insects as food). Drawing on theories of practice and actor-network theory, it advances an account of public acceptance as geographically and socially embedded, rather than deriving from individual attitudes and beliefs. The thesis is based on empirical research into both consumption of insect-based foods (using interviews, food diaries, and accompanied shopping, cooking and eating) and their production (using interviews). Key themes include an expanded notion of ‘acceptance’ of foods, in which successful novel foods are conceptualised as being embedded within a coherent framework of culinary practices; the highlighting of ‘edibility’ as something that is achieved relationally by both producers and consumers; insects’ uncertain ontological position, and the implications of this for ‘ethical’ consumption; and the introduction of two new practice-theoretic concepts for social-scientific research on food consumption. Key contributions are identified for academic debates, business, advocacy and policy.
Supervisor: Jackson, Peter ; Blake, Megan Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available