Accepted abstract - Creative Tastebuds Symposium 2021

Taste negotiation through technology: Consumer’s taste expectations on edible insects

Opinion paper

By Jenny Berkholz, Margarita Esau, & Gunnar Stevens, University of Siegen, Germany

Edible Insects have been discussed in various ways as a sustainable alternative for meat consumption and protein nutritional benefits(1)(2). Nevertheless, the taste expectations in contrast to the actual taste experience after the first consumption of novice insect consumers have not been researched yet. Therefore, we want to take a closer look at the taste expectation and perception of insect-based food and how it changes, when an automat is included in the consumption process(3). As a pre-study, we conducted interviews with 13 people, who never tasted insect food before and asked them how they imagine the taste of edible insects. We found that expectations were various (e.g. creamy, mushy). We then created an insect automat prototype with them, to find out about the requirements users have for a satisfying taste experience(4). Further, we conducted individual and group tastings accompanied by interviews. Nine people tasted dried buffalo worms and crickets with flavor as well as buffalo worm bars. Three of them used the automat prototype beforehand. The prototype provides information about the taste and benefits of insect-based food as well as recipes. But we found that users wished for the alternative to create their customized insect bar by choosing ingredients by themselves. We focused on the taste-negotiation process, which can be explored during the observation of the consumption process. We asked the participants to think aloud(5) and to talk with each other while tasting and found that all participants were surprised by the consistency of the edible insects as they did not expect the mouthfeel. For the next steps, we will research the interaction of the users and the automat in detail. We would be pleased to present further insights at the Creative Tastebuds Symposium 2021. 


(1) Hartmann, C., Shi, J., Giusto, A., & Siegrist, M. (2015). The psychology of eating insects: A cross-cultural comparison between Germany and China. Food quality and preference, 44, 148-156.

(2)  Baker, M. A., Shin, J. T., & Kim, Y. W. (2016). An exploration and investigation of edible insect consumption: The impacts of image and description on risk perceptions and purchase intent. Psychology & Marketing, 33(2), 94-112.

(3) Jezewska-Zychowicz, M., & Królak, M. (2015). Do consumers' attitudes towards food technologies and motives of food choice influence willingness to eat cereal products fortified with fibre?. Polish Journal of Food and Nutrition Sciences, 65(4).

(4) Hassenzahl, M., & Klapperich, H. (2014, October). Convenient, clean, and efficient? The experiential costs of everyday automation. In Proceedings of the 8th nordic conference on human-computer interaction: Fun, fast, foundational (pp. 21-30).

(5) Van Someren, M. W., Barnard, Y. F., & Sandberg, J. A. C. (1994). The think aloud method: a practical approach to modelling cognitive. London: AcademicPress.