The emergence of the Finnish edible insect arena: The dynamics of an ‘Active Obstacle’

Tiina Arppe, Mari Niva, Piia Jallinoja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


In the current debates on sustainability of food edible insects have been suggested as one alternative source of protein that could respond to the urgent need to decrease global meat consumption. However, in many countries rearing of insects for human food has been restrained by regulatory measures, such as the EU Novel Foods Regulation. This paper analyses the emergence of the edible insect arena in Finland. In spite of the official compliance to the existing EU regulations, a lively startup scene has grown around edible insect production since 2014. The analysis is based on interviews of the central actors of the insect scene and media data. The performances of actors, such as producers, retailers, authorities, researchers, newspaper articles, insects, regulations, and technologies, constituted a network connecting different geographical locations on a common arena of development. The emergence of an innovative arena is shown to be a result of conflicts and negotiations, resumed in three strategies used by the network-builders in order to normalize a forbidden product: media promotion, trials, and consumption. These strategies gathered actors and networks around an ‘active obstacle’, formed by the authorities’ interpretation of the EU law, which, as we argue, has influenced the dynamics of the arena in its formative stage. Implications for the debates concerning technological transitions are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-236
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jan 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 5141 Sociology
  • Edible insects
  • Novel food
  • Sustainability
  • Arena of development
  • Strategies of normalization
  • Active obstacle
  • FOOD

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