The effect of information content on acceptance of cultured meat in a tasting context

Nathalie C M Rolland, C. Rob Markus, Mark J. Post*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

31 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

Cultured meat, in particular beef, is an emerging food technology potentially challenged by issues of consumer acceptance. To understand drivers of consumer acceptance as well as sensory perception of cultured meat, we investigated the effect of information content on participants' acceptance of cultured meat in a tasting context. Hundred ninety-three citizens from the Netherlands participated, divided across three age and sex-matched groups which each received information on either societal benefits, personal benefits or information on the quality and taste of cultured meat. They filled out a questionnaire and tasted two pieces of hamburger, labeled 'conventional' or 'cultured', although both pieces were in fact conventional. Sensory analysis of both hamburgers was performed. We observed that provision of information and the tasting experience increased acceptance of cultured meat and that information on personal benefits of cultured meat increased acceptance more than information on quality and taste but not than societal benefits of cultured meat. Previous awareness of cultured meat was the best predictor of its acceptance. In contrast to previous studies, sex and social economic status were not associated with different acceptance rates. Surprisingly, 58% of the respondents were willing to pay a premium for cultured meat of, on average, 37% above the price of regular meat. All participants tasted the 'cultured' hamburger and evaluated its taste to be better than the conventional one in spite of the absence of an objective difference. This is the first acceptance study of cultured meat where participants were offered to eat and evaluate meat that was labeled 'cultured'. We conclude that having positive information importantly improves acceptance and willingness to taste and that the specific content of the information is of subordinate importance. Awareness of cultured meat is the best predictor of acceptance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number0231176
Number of pages17
JournalPLOS ONE
Volume15
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Apr 2020

Keywords

  • CONSUMER ACCEPTANCE
  • FOOD
  • LIKING
  • TECHNOLOGY
  • EXPOSURE
  • WILLINGNESS
  • CHALLENGES
  • ATTITUDES
  • AUCTIONS

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