Honors Thesis Projects

Date of Award

2020

Document Type

Honors Paper

Degree Name

Sociology-BA

Department

Sociology, Criminology and Justice Studies

Advisor

Carla Corroto

First Committee Member

Don Eskew

Second Committee Member

Louise Captein

Keywords

Entomophagy, Sociology, Family Form, Medical Practices, Environmental

Subject Categories

Environmental Studies | Family, Life Course, and Society | Food Studies | Higher Education | Sociology of Culture

Abstract

To help reduce amounts of destructive methane produced by livestock, climate activists are advocating for the inclusion of entomophagy in the mindset and culinary choices of Western society. Entomophagy, customary in most regions of the world, is seen as a deviant and disgusting food practice by most Westerners. In order to challenge this perception, producers of insect-based products are changing the appearance and marketability of their commodities. To successfully target markets, they need to determine the ideal household for entomophagy acceptance. My research tests the hypothesis that family form and medical practices affect the willingness of consumers to adopt these environmentally conscious eating habits.

I distributed a survey to understand the varying levels of acceptance of both whole-body and hidden-body insect products. Within family form types, married households without children or dependents yielded the most positive data in favor of entomophagy. In all tests, they ranked the most likely to incorporate entomophagy into their household. The second variable, medical practices, was far more ambiguous in its data results. The only solid evidence it provided was that when paired with married, no children/dependents, the group with fewer doctor visits resulted in slightly higher willingness in all categories. While there were certainly aspects of the survey that could be changed to yield a more accurate result, the overall conclusion of the data points to the “model” household including married individuals with no children or dependents, and few doctor’s visits per year. Combining this information with future census data will yield cities or regions within the United States where insect-based product producers can target consumers with a higher level of potential success.

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