15.12.2021

New review: Environmental Advantages of Cultured Meat do not Motivate Consumers to Buy it

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A recent systematic review conducted by researchers from Novia University of Applied Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sari Agricultural Sciences University, and the University of Bologna found that food neophobia and uncertainties about food safety are important barriers to cultured meat.

Concerns about animal welfare and sustainable meat production are growing among consumers. The awareness of carbon emissions linked to livestock has triggered interest in more sustainable alternatives, among which cultured meat (also known as lab-grown meat or clean meat) is a recent entry. Like any new food, the ultimate success of cultured meat depends on consumer acceptance.

A recent systematic review of the literature on consumer attitudes towards cultured meat revealed that the most important factors influencing consumer acceptance/rejection of this technology include awareness of this technology impact, perceived naturalness, and food-related risk perception. The review specifically indicates that food neophobia and uncertainties about safety and health seem to be important barriers to uptake of this technology.

Environmental and animal welfare advantages of novel meat alternatives (both plant-based and cultured meat) do not seem to be a strong motivation for heavy-meat consumers to reduce their meat consumption and include these new food sources into their diet. Ethical and environmental concerns prompted segments of consumers to be willing to pay a premium price for purchasing meat substitutes, but not necessarily cultured meat. The results also indicate that, compared to vegetarians, heavy-meat consumers are more open to considering trying cultured meat. Rather, cultured meat is viewed as a suitable alternative by responsible consumers who consider more sustainable food consumption patterns but are unwilling to change their current meat-based diet.

The findings further highlight that, availability of other meat alternatives such as plant-based meat substitutes and product features, such as price and sensory appeal, are considered determinants of consumer reception of this technology.

These findings shed light on the consumer acceptance of novel meat substitutes. The findings demonstrate a need to clarify guideline recommendations for health-related risks associated with novel meat substitute technologies.

Upcoming paper: Pakseresht, A (Novia UAS)., Ahmadi Kaliji, S., & Canavari, M. (2021). Review of factors affecting consumer acceptance of cultured meat. Appetite (forthcoming 2021), 105829. 

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2021.105829

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