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New research reveals UK attitudes towards futuristic foods

16/03/2021 – Food / Futuristic / Edible / Insects / Crickets / Algae / Lab-grown / Sustainability

New research reveals UK attitudes towards futuristic foods

From lab-grown meat to crickets, algae and even edible water bottles, futuristic foods are becoming increasingly acceptable to UK consumers, according to new YouGov survey by Readly.  


With mealworms recently becoming the first insect-based food to be approved by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA), alternative snacks are on the rise.


In fact, a recent YouGov survey by digital magazine and newspaper subscription app Readly demonstrates just how responsive consumers are becoming to the prospect of a wide array of futuristic food concepts – from lab-grown meat to crickets, algae and even edible water bottles.

Brits are open to new culinary experiences

Almost 83 per cent of those surveyed said they were open to new food experiences. Edible water bottles, lab grown meat or fish, and algae topped the list of the most likely to be eaten by those looking for something alternative or environmentally conscious.


The top list of what Brits are willing to consider eating and drinking include:

1. Edible water bottles (27 per cent)

2. Lab-grown meat and fish (24 per cent)

3. Algae (20 per cent)

4. Insects (17 per cent)

5. DNA-based diet (16 per cent)

6. 3D-printed food (14 per cent)

Sustainability remains an important factor

The research also showed that sustainability continues to be an important theme, with almost half of UK consumers claiming to choose foods that are locally produced and 1 in 10 of those surveyed rating eco-labelling as key to their food decisions. Taste (78 per cent), dietary requirements (15 per cent) and low meat consumption (13 per cent) also continue to rate highly. 

“We have noted that our readers mainly save and share classic recipes of chocolate cakes and traditional stews, so insect related recipes have not made the top searches just yet,” noted Ranj Begley, UK Managing Director and Chief Content Officer at Readly. “We are following the trend and will see if there is a shift in habits this year as regulation changes and we see more people making sustainable choices.” 

The low-carbon emissions generated from insect-based foods – combined with their high-protein, mineral-rich nutritional profile – has made them a hot topic, putting them on course to soon become a major ingredient in smoothies, snacks and other foods. Indeed, a report by Global Market Insights predicts the global market for edible insects will expand at a juggernaut 47 per cent CAGR from 2019–2026, to become a US$1.5 billion market by the end of the forecast period.

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