Cultivated Seafood

Japanese Consumers Show Strong Interest in Tasting and Buying Cultivated Seafood, Says Research Study

A research study exploring the opinions of Japanese consumers toward cultivated seafood suggests that attitudes towards this novel food are generally positive, with 70% of participants showing interest in tasting it and 60% expressing willingness to purchase it once it is available. 

The study, one of the latest dissertations from the University of Winchester MSc Animal Welfare, Behaviour, Ethics and Law students, investigated the knowledge, attitudes, and behavioral intentions of Japanese consumers toward cell-based seafood. 

The researchers conducted an online survey with over 100 participants to collect the data. From this sample, a majority said to regularly consume seafood, indicating that its consumption is significant in Japan. Notably, a small percentage stated they would never eat seafood due to veganism.

© Wildtype

The findings reveal a lack of knowledge about cultivated seafood, its technology, and its benefits. Only about a quarter of the surveyed reported an awareness of the sector, highlighting the need for information campaigns to increase awareness and acceptance.

Meanwhile, the researchers found that knowledge and understanding of cultivated products are strongly associated with more positive attitudes and a willingness to pay higher prices. “With cell-based seafood startups preparing to launch products within Asian markets in the near future, the right time for intelligent advertisement appears to be sooner rather than later,” say the authors.

Attitudes, emotions, and other findings

When it comes to attitudes, the most common emotions reported towards cell-based seafood were interest, positivity, and excitement. Still, there were also feelings of worry and disgust, according to the study. The education level did not have a significant effect on these attitudes.

However, according to the analysis, younger age is associated with more positive attitudes towards cell-based seafood and willingness to purchase it. Meanwhile, according to the study, even if there is no significant association between gender and attitudes towards these novel proteins, men in the sample generally had more positive attitudes than women. 

Other findings show that single-household participants are more likely to be interested in tasting and buying cell-based seafood and that participants in smaller cities have more positive attitudes toward cell-based seafood. Finally, respondents show interest in cell-based seafood depending on the species, with a higher interest in easily consumable seafood such as salmon and tuna.

UMAMI Bioworks, previously Umami Meats, announces a business partnership with Maruha Nichiro-
© UMAMI Bioworks

A moderately ready market

Overall, the research study suggests that the Japanese market is moderately ready for cell-based seafood product launches, with high interest levels and low food neophobia (fear of new and different foods).

Japan has one of the highest seafood consumption footprints per capita globally, and cultivated seafood has the potential to meet consumer demand while addressing overfishing, climate, health, and animal welfare concerns. However, for Japanese consumers to embrace and accept cultivated products, certain conditions such as proven safety, good taste, and affordability must be more than a promise.

“This study’s findings indicate that the Japanese market is moderately ready for cell-based seafood product launches. High levels of interest and low levels of food neophobia might indicate the existence of a considerable number of innovators and early adaptors within the studied sample, possibly portending a promising future market,” say the authors.

To read the complete study, please visit Appetite or Distaste for Cell-Based Seafood? An Examination of Japanese Consumer Attitudes.

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