No Way, That’s Gross! How Public Exposure Therapy Can Overcome Disgust Preventing Consumer Adoption of Sustainable Food Alternatives

Jan Andre Koch*, Jan Willem Bolderdijk, Koert van Ittersum

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
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Two prominently discussed sustainable food alternatives—lab-meat and edible insects—elicit disgust among consumers, thereby preventing acceptance. While providing prospective consumers with more information on, for instance, the environmental benefits of lab-meat has shown some success in increasing consumer acceptance, we argue that the disgust response—the main barrier to the societal acceptance of these foods—is not addressed. This is, we argue, because disgust is not the result of misperceptions (e.g., edible insects carry diseases) and thus unlikely to be overcome by information alone. Building on the latest insights into the social origins of disgust, this manuscript reviews an alternative strategy to foster the broader acceptance of sustainable food alternatives that currently elicit disgust. Specifically, we explain why and how public exposure could be a promising avenue for marketers to reduce consumers’ disgust response and thus increase the acceptance of sustainable food alternatives.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1380
Number of pages9
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 15-Jun-2021

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