Identification of new food alternatives: how do consumers categorize meat and meat substitutes?

A.C. Hoek, M.A.J.S. van Boekel, J. Voordouw, P.A. Luning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


New meat substitutes need to be recognized as alternatives to meat. We therefore investigated which category representations consumers have of meat and meat substitutes. Thirty-four non-vegetarian participants performed a free sorting task with 17 meat products and 19 commercially available meat substitutes, followed by similarity and typicality ratings. Results indicated that categorization was largely influenced by the taxonomic classification of meat, so by categories that refer to the animal source like ‘pork’, ‘beef’ etc. Hence, meat substitutes were grouped separately from non-processed meat products. However, there were categories (e.g. ‘pieces’ and ‘sausages’) that contained both meat substitutes and processed meat products, as these products were perceived to be very similar. New meat substitutes should have a certain resemblance to meat in order to replace meat on the plate. This can be achieved by either similarity in appearance or by referring to shared scripts/goals, such as a similar application in meals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-383
JournalFood Quality and Preference
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • product categorization
  • cross-classification
  • childrens concepts
  • real-world
  • attributes
  • choice
  • representations
  • sustainability
  • determinants
  • expectations

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