Consumer acceptance of meat substitutes

The client and/or collaborators

Technology Foundation STW, Dutch Research Program PROFETAS, Wageningen University

The context

A succulent piece of meat is loved by many. It may taste good but unfortunately meat consumption is not so good for the environment. Partially replacing meat by other products, such as plant-based meat alternatives, would result in a much lower environmental impact.

The question

What shapes consumer acceptance of meat substitutes? What are the implications for new environmentally friendly meat replacers?

The approach

We investigated this broad issue considering all relevant stages in consumer behaviour; from need recognition to repeated consumption. A battery of qualitative and quantitative consumer studies was undertaken, which included usage & attitude surveys, central location and in-home use product testing.

The outcome

In order to win over meat consumers a different approach and product is needed. Compared to vegetarians, (semi)-meat consumers are more driven by taste and familiarity and less sensitive to the environmental argument. Meaty meat-like meat substitutes with excellent sensory properties, or mixed plant/meat meal ingredients, are promising directions. Since the publication of the report, several new and improved meat substitutes appeared on the market.