VYPR Report: UK Consumers Not Quite Ready To Save The World

According to leading scientists, the world will run out of food by 2050, thanks to a population boom, which has producers across the planet looking at new ways to keep us all fed in the decades to come. According to recent reports (including the BBC’s Today programme this week), that means it may soon become legal in the UK to use insects as a food source for chickens that will ultimately end up on British plates. In the latest of our series on food waste innovation, we sought to find out just how accepting consumers are to the change and what this means – most importantly – for purchase intent.

According the VYPR consumer panel – which is representative of the UK population – over 55% said that they would eat insect-fed roast chicken in a restaurant, increasing to 66% when the benefits to the environment were clearly explained. Given that this is a relatively new trend (in this country at least), the numbers are encouraging. Interestingly, Lidl consumers seemed more open than most to purchasing a whole chicken from the supermarket fed in this way (71%), whereas the general population in the North West and North East were the least likely to endorse the practice as a good idea on the whole.

However, when given the choice of a standard chicken versus a more environmentally-friendly insect-fed variant, intent to purchase plummeted to just 28%, with only M&S, Lidl and Co-op customers slightly bucking the trend at 33%, 31% and 32% retrospectively.

VYPR comes into its own when it comes to splitting out stated attitudes versus actual behaviours. This kind of deployment of VYPR enables brands and producers not only to sound out the marketplace on concepts, but also helps them to identify cohorts within supermarket shoppers and regions that are most likely to trial and endorse these sorts of innovations. Critically, the purchase intent test also gets us much closer to understanding what might actually happen in store versus what might be stated in a market research focus group, perhaps to ease a conscience or two.

Image Source: Martha Stewart / Eric Asimov.

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