One-quarter of Americans would eat a cicada-based food

Linley SandersSenior Data Journalist
June 03, 2021, 1:18 PM UTC

This summer, billions of cicadas are expected to emerge across the United States. This variation of the hard-shell bug only comes once every seventeen years, sparking delight for chefs across the country who are inspired to create cicada cuisine. Despite the relatively rare opportunity to snack on the critters, though, most Americans (58%) are not interested in eating them.

A YouGov poll of 37,244 US adults shows that one-quarter of Americans (23%) are very or somewhat willing to try a cicada-based food. Most are unwilling (58%), including some 45% of Americans who say they are “very unwilling” to snack on a cicada. 

Men of all ages are more willing than women to eat a cicada dish 

There are some who are more open to the idea than others, however. Men of all ages are more willing than women to try a cicada-based dish. One-third of men (32%) would be willing to try a cicada-focused food (30%) or already have (3%). By comparison, 19% of women would be willing (15%) or have tried (3%) a dish featuring the insects. 

Younger Americans also seem more willing to chow down on some cicadas. Two in five 18-to 24-year-old men (42%) would be willing to or have already done so, as well as half of men aged 25 to 34 (48%). Women in these age groups are much less willing: 31% of each bracket say they would try them or already have. 

The notion of insects for a protein-packed meal is hardly a new concept — they are a featured item in many countries ranging from Mexico to Thailand. But Americans’ aversion to crunchy cicadas doesn’t seem personal to these 17-year bugs. Only one-quarter of Americans (26%) are willing to try any type of insect-based food. One in 20 Americans (5%) say they already have. 

Related: What do Americans like on their burgers? 

Methodology: 37,244 US adults 18+ were surveyed between May 10 – 24, 2021. The responding sample is weighted to be representative of the US population. 

Image: Photo by Chris F from Pexels