Third of consumers say willing to eat lab-grown meat

Forty percent of the American respondents said they were much more likely to eat cultured meat than those in Great Britain.  |  File photo

Almost 30 percent of consumers in the United States and United Kingdom interviewed for a survey said they would eat meat grown in a lab.

Sixty percent of vegans also said they would give the lab meat a go.

The results were obtained from an online survey of 1,000 U.K. and U.S. consumers conducted by Surveygoo, which was commissioned by public relations agency Ingredient Communications.

The survey asked consumers if they would be prepared to eat cultured meat grown from cells in a laboratory and explained that this meat was not sourced from any animals.

Subsequently, they were asked if they would buy this meat if it was available in shops or restaurants.

At the end of the survey, 29 percent of respondents said they would try it, 38 percent said they would not, and the remaining 33 percent said they didn’t know.

Of all consumers surveyed, 40 percent of the American respondents said they were much more likely to eat cultured meat than those in the U.K.

As well, while 60 percent of vegan respondents said they would try the meat, vegetarians were the lowest interested sector at 23 percent.

Also, 28 percent of meat eaters, which made up the largest cohort in the survey (888 of 1,000), said they were prepared to give cultured meat a try.

“It’s easy to see why so many consumers welcome the prospect of lab-grown meat,” said Richard Clarke, managing director of Ingredient Communications.

“People enjoy eating meat, but often feel guilty about related issues such as animal welfare and the impact of farming on the environment. Cultured meat addresses those concerns, which is a compelling benefit.

“Nevertheless, we were surprised by how many respondents expressed a willingness to eat cultured meat. It’s such a new concept and when you consider the backlash against GMOs and the unstoppable momentum of the naturalness trend, it seems counter-intuitive that people would be willing to eat meat produced in a laboratory. However, our survey shows that it has appeal for a significant proportion of consumers, particularly those in America.

He said the fact that vegans were more likely to eat cultured meat could be indicative of a group that has long been seen as more adventurous when it comes to new, ethical sources of protein.

Neil Cary, managing director of Surveygoo, said the results of the survey show a huge difference between how American and British consumers perceive cultured meat.

“It shows how countries which, on the surface, appear to share many similar values, may in fact diverge quite widely on certain issues. It’s very early days for cultured meat and our findings highlight the value of asking consumers how they feel about cutting-edge developments such as these.”

Lab meat could be on menus and supermarkets in the U.S. by the end of this year, according to some cultured meat manufacturers.

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