Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 131–141 | Cite as

How then shall we eat? Insect-eating attitudes and sustainable foodways

  • Heather LooyEmail author
  • Florence V. Dunkel
  • John R. Wood


Negative attitudes toward invertebrates are a deep-seated, visceral response among Western peoples. These internalized aversions toward insects and other terrestrial arthropods, both in general and specifically as a food source, subtly and systemically contribute to unsustainable global foodways. Insect cuisine is, for Westerners, emblematic of the alien, a threat to our psychological and cultural identity. Yet failure to embrace entomophagy prevents us from seeing the full humanity of those of other classes, races, and cultures, and leads to agricultural and food policy decisions that fail in their objectives to improve nourishment for all people. Key to enabling the world’s peoples to live sustainably with the land are: (1) awareness of the psychological and cultural barriers to a more insect-positive perspective (2) embracing insects as a desirable food resource, (3) understanding the processes by which those barriers are constructed, their negative consequences, and (4) identifying strategies for transforming our attitudes.


Entomophagy Edible insects Food Attitude change Culture Sustainability Disgust Invertebrates 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heather Looy
    • 1
    Email author
  • Florence V. Dunkel
    • 2
  • John R. Wood
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyThe King’s University CollegeEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology, College of AgricultureMontana State UniversityBozemanUSA
  3. 3.Department of BiologyThe King’s University CollegeEdmontonCanada

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