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The introduction of novel foods in the market is difficult due to the lack of consumer acceptance. This is due to perceived risk, lack of knowledge or personality traits. However, bringing the lens of engagement with novel foods could mitigate these barriers. A fundamental aspect of engagement is the interaction with the novel food and the potential adopter. Therefore, it is important to determine ways where the interaction can be stimulated. Visual mental imagery can enable the non-physical interaction and consequently engage the person with the novel food. The main objective of this study is to investigate the effect of different visual imagery on engagement. We will also study the effect of mental effort on visual mental imagery utilizing eye-tracking.

We will use insect-based products as an example of novel foods. Previous literature state that it is easier to adopt unfamiliar (insect-based) products with food that is already consumed. Therefore, we use chocolate chip cookies using cricket flour as a novel food. We will create three types of packaging with different effects of visual mental imagery and determine the mental effort through eye-tracking and engagement through self-reported measures.

Businesses interested in commercializing novel food could consider forms to make the initial interaction with the novel food more effective with visual mental imagery. Hence, engaging consumers with novel food will facilitate product adoption.

Working togeter with: Rick Schifferstein, Jodie Conduit & Carolin Plewa