Factors affecting consumer acceptability for insect-enriched foods
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The numerous causes of malnutrition reportedly include deficiencies and excesses or imbalances of a wide range of nutrients in the human body. Insects such as grasshoppers, white ants and crickets are widely known for their high nutritive value, more so the high protein content, yet they are not as widely consumed as other food categories especially in Uganda. The aim of the study was to determine the factors affecting consumer acceptability for insect enriched foods. The study was conducted in two selected parts of Kampala: Bukoto and Kololo. Shoppers at supermarkets & shops and kiosks in and around these selected areas were each presented with a semi-structured questionnaire and actual cricket enriched products (cookies, snacks and instant porridge) which some of them tasted and gave feedback on the sensory attributes. The feedback was in form of rating each of the different attributes on a 9-point hedonic scale. Analysis of data revealed that out of a total of 101 respondents, 89.1% ate insects whereas 10.9% did not. On the whole, the sensory attributes of the products favoured consumer acceptability more than they did not. Multiple linear regression of independent variables on dependent variables indicated that the model was a good fit (Prob ≤ 0.05). Product hygiene, packaging, price, quantity and overall product quality collectively explained 33.7% of total variations in consumer acceptability for the cricket-enriched foods. This was a highly significant percentage. Therefore, food processors, distributors, consumers and any other relevant authorities should work hand in hand to ensure that the consumption rate of insect enriched food products in Uganda is boosted. This would help reduce the many cases of malnutrition which are presently at hand.