Consumer acceptance of cultured meat is expected to depend on a wide diversity of determinants ranging from technology-related perceptions to product-specific expectations, and including wider contextual factors like media coverage, public involvement, and trust in science, policy and society. This paper discusses the case of cultured meat against this multitude of possible determinants shaping future consumer acceptance or rejection. The paper also presents insights from a primary exploratory study performed in April 2013 with consumers from Flanders (Belgium) (n=180). The concept of cultured meat was only known (unaided) by 13% of the study participants. After receiving basic information about what cultured meat is, participants expressed favorable expectations about the concept. Only 9% rejected the idea of trying cultured meat, while two thirds hesitated and about quarter indicated to be willing to try it. The provision of additional information about the environmental benefits of cultured meat compared to traditional meat resulted in 43% of the participants indicating to be willing to try this novel food, while another 51% indicated to be 'maybe' willing to do so. Price and sensory expectations emerged as major obstacles. Consumers eating mostly vegetarian meals were less convinced that cultured meat might be healthy, suggesting that vegetarians may not be the ideal primary target group for this novel meat substitute. Although exploratory rather than conclusive, the findings generally underscore doubts among consumers about trying this product when it would become available, and therefore also the challenge for cultured meat to mimic traditional meat in terms of sensory quality at an affordable price in order to become acceptable for future consumers.
- In vitro