Survey reveals consumers view conventional meat as superior to lab-grown alternatives

A new survey report from Purdue University’s Center for Food Demand Analysis and Sustainability  sheds light on consumer attitudes toward conventional meat products versus emerging lab-grown cultivated meat alternatives.

The United States-based survey of 1,200 consumers found a significant preference for conventionally-raised beef, chicken and pork over their cultivated counterparts grown from animal cells in a laboratory setting.

The results showed that conventional meat products were perceived as both tastier and healthier than the cultivated options by respondents.

survey reveals consumers prefer conventional meat over cultivated meat

“For common meats like beef, chicken and pork, about 90% or more of consumers said they are willing to try the conventional versions, but only around 60% expressed willingness to try the cultivated versions,” explained report lead author Joseph Balagtas, an agricultural economics professor at Purdue.

Willingness to try cultivated meat

Balagtas noted this lower willingness to try cultivated meat likely stems from consumer distrust of the unfamiliar technology, creating a major barrier for these novel products trying to enter the market. However, the results did reveal a potential niche customer base, as around 20-46% of those unwilling to consume conventional meats said they would be open to trying the cultivated alternatives.

The survey also explored attitudes toward more exotic protein sources like octopus, shark and ostrich. Here too, consumers exhibited hesitancy toward trying cultivated versions of these less-familiar meats compared to conventionally-sourced options.