Problems with Product Naming


Types of insects eaten worldwide

Insect eaters want a new name for their activity.

Sometimes you have a product/activity that you wish to promote that has an existing name, but it is derived from difficult to pronounce or remember Greek or Latin root, and you need to come up with something else that is more user friendly. The case in point is “entomophagy” which relates to eating insects.

I can imagine some of you thinking, “Good. The more obscure the better. I am not going to eat any bugs, anywhere, anytime, anywhere; and the less said about that subject the better.”

Like it or not, insects are intentionally consumed as a regular part of the diets of millions of people worldwide and accidentally by nearly everyone else as a minor contaminant in grain-derived products. Eating Insects Athens, 2018, held at the University of Georgia was the second conference sponsored by the North American Coalition for Insect Agriculture August 13-15, 2018. The first conference, Eating Insects Detroit, was held two years previously and sponsored by Wayne State University.  The Georgia conference drew participants from Universities around the country, insect growers and makers of insect-derived health-food, nutritional, novelty and snack products from the United States and Europe. I did a brief video about the conference, “Eating Insects Athens: The People and What they Do,” that you may view at:  Planning is underway for a third conference to be held in 2020 at a location to be determined.

During the 40-odd professional presentations made over the three-day Athens conference several speakers expressed a desire to come up with a replacement name for “entomophagy,” which admittedly sounds more like some sort of deadly internal disease than anything that you would want to participate in. We writers are known to invent new words from time to time, sometimes intentionally, and sometimes not. When writing against a deadline, it is very easy to make a mental slip, particularly when writing about a new subject, and put on paper something that sounds right, but is not.

That happened to me when I hurried to put out material about the conference. I misspelled entomology, as “etomology,” which is a non-word in present usage; but perhaps would work better than entomophagy, to describe insect consumption as human and animal food. Before the word gets conscripted for some other use, I propose that it be adopted for this activity and those who work in the field of rearing and consuming insects be called “etomologists.” There are words that sound something close to this and one is etymology/ists, which are those people who study the derivation of words and their evolution over time; and of course, entomologists, those who study insects  that I wrongly rendered as etomologists.  My apologies for that, but I think that my accidental word can have considerable utility if it is now re-purposed to refer to the consumption of insects.

I also came up with a series of marketing terms to refer to the amount of insect content that a product might contain. Roasted, ground and dried insect powders, now mostly derived from crickets, have protein, calcium, iron, amino acids and other nutrients not found in plant derived protein, such as derived from beans.   To refer to the amount of such a powder that might be added to a product I came up with the terms “Inprotouch,” Inproslap,” Inproslam” and “Inproblast”  to designate increasing amounts of the nutritional additive that might be in a health bar or smoothy. The “In” is derived from insect and the “pro” from protein and the “touch,” “slap,” “slam” and “blast” states the relative amount of the product which would be spelled out in detail on the label.

This exercise in deriving new names for products should be thought of as an outrageous sounding, but real, solution to a marketing problem to inspire you to consider something of the same approach for your naming problem.

Was there, or has their been, an accidental rendering of an associated name that might be useful.? Can you abbreviate the product’s ingredients in such a way that when combined with some active word yields a name that indicates both the components and function of your product?  Such a mental effort will result in a better outcome than stringing a set of meaningless letters together derived from last names of the company’s founders or some other way. Incorporate something of the origin of your product and its amount or utility into your product’s name to achieve a better result in the marketplace.  Aim for a name that is pronounceable and memorable and you will do well – even if it is about eating bugs.

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