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Consumption patterns of edible insects in rural and urban areas of Zimbabwe: taste, nutritional value and availability are key elements for keeping the insect eating habit

Manditsera, FaithA., Lakemond, CatrionaM. M., Fogliano, Vincenzo, Zvidzai, CuthbertJ., Luning, PieternelA.
Food security 2018 v.10 no.3 pp. 561-570
case studies, eating habits, edible insects, education, food security, income, indigenous knowledge, livelihood, marketing, medicinal properties, models, nutritive value, rural areas, snacks, sociodemographic characteristics, surveys, taste, urban areas, urban population, Zimbabwe
Edible insect consumption is a traditional practice in many countries and has the potential to contribute to food security. The aim of this study is to obtain insight into insect consumption patterns amongst rural and urban populations, and into factors that may influence these patterns. For this purpose, a case study was made in Zimbabwe. A literature-based conceptual model indicated that motives for consumption, individual characteristics, consumer environment, availability, food characteristics, and indigenous knowledge could affect edible insect consumption. A survey amongst 200 urban and 175 rural respondents showed that insect consumption was significantly higher in rural (89.7%) than in urban (80.0%) areas. Rural respondents (63.9%) consumed insects more than three times a week on average as compared to urban (14.5%) respondents. Quantities consumed as snacks are significantly different between urban and rural respondents. Taste was the main motive of respondents in both the rural (89.2%) and urban areas (74.4%). Respondents in urban areas more often reported nutritional value (74.4%) and medicinal properties (28.1%) as important motives for consumption compared to rural respondents (51.0% and 15.3%, respectively). For rural areas, socio-demographics did not relate to consumption of edible insects whereas in urban areas, insect consumption was negatively related to education, main livelihood source and monthly income. Availability of edible insects influences both urban (64.0%) and rural (83.0%) respondents’ consumption of insects. The lower consumption of specific insect species in urban areas could hamper the potential contribution of insects to food security in these areas. Therefore, promotion of entomophagy by marketing and maintaining traditional knowledge on insect processing should target urban people through provision of tasty products, communicating nutritional value.