Strategies for overcoming aversion to unnaturalness: The case of clean meat

Meat Sci. 2019 Aug:154:37-45. doi: 10.1016/j.meatsci.2019.04.004. Epub 2019 Apr 4.


Clean meat (grown from animal cells rather than rearing animals) has the potential to address many concerns associated with meat production. However, research suggests that the perceived unnaturalness of clean meat could be a barrier to consumer acceptance. This study investigated the efficacy of different messages designed to address consumers' concerns about clean meat naturalness. In an experimental design, participants read one of four messages: clean meat is natural, conventional meat is unnatural, naturalness is not important, or highlighting benefits of clean meat without addressing naturalness. The results indicated that arguing that conventional meat is unnatural resulted in a significant increase in some measures of acceptance compared to other messages. Arguing that clean meat is natural and challenging the appeal to nature were less persuasive, and challenging the appeal to nature resulted in some measures of acceptance being lower than not addressing naturalness. We discuss these results in the context of existing naturalness research and give recommendations for further research.

Keywords: Attitudes; Clean meat; Consumer behavior; Cultured meat; Meat; Naturalness.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured*
  • Consumer Behavior*
  • Female
  • Food Preferences*
  • Food Technology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marketing / methods
  • Meat*
  • Middle Aged
  • Surveys and Questionnaires