What's in a name? Consumer perceptions of in vitro meat under different names

Appetite. 2019 Jun 1;137:104-113. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2019.02.021. Epub 2019 Mar 3.


In vitro meat (IVM) grown from animal cells is approaching commercial viability. This technology could enable consumers to circumvent the ethical and environmental issues associated with meat-eating. However, consumer acceptance of IVM is uncertain, and is partly dependent on how the product is framed. This study investigated the effect of different names for IVM on measures of consumer acceptance. Participants (N = 185) were allocated to one of four conditions in an experimental design in which the product name was manipulated to be 'clean meat', 'cultured meat', 'animal free meat', or 'lab grown meat'. Participants gave word associations and measures of their attitudes and behavioural intentions towards the product. The results indicated that those in the 'clean meat' and 'animal free meat' conditions had significantly more positive attitudes towards IVM than those in the 'lab grown meat' condition, and those in the 'clean meat' condition had significantly more positive behavioural intentions towards IVM compared to those in the 'lab grown meat' condition. Mediation analyses indicated that the valence of associations accounted for a significant amount of the observed differences, suggesting that anchoring can explain these differences. We discuss these results in the context of social representations theory and give recommendations for future research.

Keywords: Consumer behaviour; Cultured meat; In vitro meat; Meat; Nomenclature; Social representations theory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude*
  • Food Preferences / psychology*
  • Food Technology*
  • Humans
  • Meat*
  • Random Allocation
  • Terminology as Topic*