US and UK Consumer Adoption of Cultivated Meat: A Segmentation Study

Foods. 2021 May 11;10(5):1050. doi: 10.3390/foods10051050.


Despite growing evidence of the environmental and public health threats posed by today's intensive animal production, consumers in the west remain largely attached to meat. Cultivated meat offers a way to grow meat directly from cells, circumventing these issues as well as the use of animals altogether. The aim of this study was to assess the overall consumer markets and a range of preferences around cultivated meat in the US and the UK relating to nomenclature, genetic modification, health enhancements, and other features. To this end, we recruited large representative samples to participate in an online survey about cultivated meat, and subsequently analyzed segments (a) in the early majority population (guided by the Diffusion of Innovations Model), (b) by generation, and (c) in the general population. Our findings showed a high level of openness (80%) in both the US and UK populations, with 40% somewhat or moderately likely to try and 40% highly likely to try. Younger generations had the greatest openness: 88% of Gen Z, 85% of Millennials, 77% of Gen X, and 72% of Baby Boomers were at least somewhat open to trying cultivated meat. All segments envisioned cultivated meat to be nearly half of their total meat intake. Findings show that consumers prefer the terms 'cultured' and 'cultivated' over 'cell-based' and 'cell-cultured' for use in a social context and on packages, even though they perceive these terms as less descriptive. The most important on-package label was one indicating government assurances, and participants preferred non-GM products over GM products. We also found that US consumers prefer nutritionally superior meat over nutritionally equivalent meat. We discuss implications for product development, messaging, and understanding the likely adoption path of this food innovation.

Keywords: alternative protein; cell-cultured meat; consumer acceptance; consumer adoption; cultivated meat; cultured meat; food technology.