While cultivated meat (also known as in vitro, or lab-grown meat) continues to divide opinion in the natural products community, new research shows high levels of openness to the concept among younger consumers.
The research, published on May 11, 2021 by the journal Foods, suggests that cultivated meat is likely to make up a major part of consumers’ future diets. The study showed patterns of greater openness to trying such products by younger generational groups: 87-89% of Gen Z adults, 84-85% of Millennials, 76-77% of Gen X, and 70-74% of Boomers were at least somewhat open to trying cultivated meat.
Led by Keri Szejda PhD, the researchers surveyed a large, representative sample of 2,018 US and 2,034 UK consumers, assessing indicators of adoption among the general population, and by generational segments.
The majority of consumers surveyed were not familiar with cultivated meat, yet after being presented with a description of the innovation, the respondents, on average, imagined that cultivated meat could make up about 40% of their future meat intake, with conventional meat constituting around 60%.
Honing in on the findings of the survey, which segmented the participants by age and by degree of enthusiasm, 40% of consumers were “very” or “extremely likely” to try cultivated meat in both the US and the UK. This group of enthusiastic triers was categorized as the “early majority”group. Of the early majority group, an overwhelming 98-99% of them said they would consider welcoming it as a regular item in their shopping basket. The vast majority of the early majority are omnivores (94-95%) who consume meat 2-3 times per day in a typical week.
“In order to turn this expected acceptance into actual consumption patterns over time, it is critical to develop the right products, based on the right solutions,” says Didier Toubia, Co-Founder and CEO of Aleph Farms, which commissioned the research. “In the long term, Aleph Farms’ vision is to provide a better alternative to industrial livestock farming, which represents approximately 70% of global meat production today.”
“The results suggest that cultivated meat is likely to be widely accepted by the general public, especially the younger generations and an eager group of early adopters who appreciate its benefits across a wide range of social issues. These groups tend to embrace change and need little encouragement to try new food innovations,” notes Szejda, PhD, founder and principal research scientist of North Mountain Consulting Group. “Additionally, we observed an increase in support for the technology once consumers had access to additional information, underscoring the importance of effective science communication for consumer adoption.”