No demand for fake meat

February 22, 2018, 1:00 AM GMT+0

Half the public ‘would probably not eat’ artificial meat grown in a laboratory – but men and millennials are more likely to try it

Much has been made of the advancements in lab-grown meat as a means of meeting the rising demand for meat products. Indeed, the industry has attracted support famous philanthropists such as Bill Gates and Richard Branson, who believe that cultivating such products can reduce the negative impacts to the environment, animal welfare and human health that arise as a result of conventional meat production.

New YouGov research reveals what the public really think about artificial meat. The research finds that some consumers see benefits from the technology, recognizing its potential to tackle the ethical and environmental problems meat production poses. The most widely-perceived advantages are that it prevents the killing of animals (49% believe this to be the case), has the potential to end world hunger (45%) and that it contributes to greater food security (36%).

However, the public do have some concerns, most notably about the potential side-effects of artificial meat. Nearly two thirds of consumers (63%) are worried about this. Some also criticize the way this will affect working farmers who could lose their jobs (48% see this as a concern), as well as pointing out that people should simply be eating less meat rather than find ways to consume more (24%).

Millennials are twice as likely to try artificial meat than older generations

Half (51%) of Aussie adults say they ‘would probably not eat’ artificial meat when asked to imagine it was available commercially. 28% ‘probably would eat’ the meat, while a further 21% haven’t made up their mind.

Millennials (those aged between 16 and 34) are the most receptive to trying artificial meat, as four in ten (41%) probably would eat it. Just half as many (21%) of older generations say they would probably eat artificial meat.

Men are also considerably more likely to say they would eat fake meat than women. Around a third (36%) of men say they would be open to eating lab-grown meat; considerably more than the 21% of women who say the same.

Vietnamese consumers are the most open to eating artificial meat

Compared to the wider region, Australians are among the least likely to say they would probably eat artificial meat (28% say they would). Vietnamese consumers are the most likely to say they would try it (52% say as much), followed by Thai (34%) and Indonesian (33%) consumers. By contrast, just a quarter of Malaysian (25%) and Chinese (26%) consumers say the same; the lowest out of the nine countries surveyed.

Commenting on the findings, YouGov’s Head of Omnibus, Jake Gammon, said, “Pioneers of artificial meat have been working hard to drive production costs down to make such products more accessible to consumers. However, this research suggests that there is one final hurdle that manufacturers still need to tackle… consumer demand. Despite widespread exposure, consumers still appear sceptical about artificial meat. Unless they have their fears assuaged and are clearer on the potential benefits of such technology it will be an uphill struggle for producers ahead.”

*Data was collected online by YouGov Omnibus between 5 and 12 December 2017 among 943 respondents in Australia. Results are representative of the adult population.

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