Ishka Bless

Ishka Bless

Higher Degree by Research Candidate

School of Agriculture, Food and Wine

Faculty of Sciences

Combining a professional background in social enterprise and community services with undergraduate studies in Food Science and Nutrition (Hons) at UNSW, I am interested in human-centred approaches to sustainable food transitions. I am particularly motivated to address the social, cultural and sensory challenges associated with edible insect consumption in Western society.

As a part of the University of Adelaide-Nottingham Joint PhD Program, my research will investigate consumer opinions on edible insects from a cross-cultural perspective; exploring the influence of socio-cultural factors and individual traits on consumer acceptance and sensory appeal, as well as developing and evaluating interventions which work to enhance the diffusion of insects in Western diet.

Entomophagy (the practice of eating insects) may play a significant role in future food security, providing an alternative source of protein with a low environmental footprint. Despite this potential, edible insects have poor acceptance among Western consumers - limiting their adoption into everyday diet.   Using the theories of planned behaviour and diffusion of innovation as a theoretical framework, my research will explore the individual, cultural, personal and practical barriers to and facilitators of entomophagy, as well as designing and evaluating consumer-specific intervention strategies for accelerated adoption. The sensory properties of commercially available edible insects will also be established, providing a guidance tool for marketing, consumer education and product development. Practically, this work aims to inform pathways for increased uptake of edible insects as an alternative protein in Western food cultures. 

University of Adelaide Research Scholarship

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