A new study into public acceptance of alternative proteins released today by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) reveals that around a third (34%) of UK consumers are willing to sample cultivated meat, whilst as many as six in ten (60%) are happy to try plant-based proteins.
The research was conducted with a representative sample of 1,930 adults aged 16-75 in the UK between 9th – 11th December 2021, commissioned by the FSA via Ipsos MORI’s online omnibus.
The most cited reason for unwillingness to try cultivated meat (49%) was due to finding it “off-putting”, whereas the biggest barrier to trying plant-based proteins was that participants enjoy consuming animal meats (36%).
Participants who said they were unwilling to try these alternatives were asked as to what would motivate them otherwise. Two in five (42%) replied that there was nothing that could encourage them to try plant-based alternatives, but 1 in 5 (21%) could potentially change their mind if the product “looked appetising”. Two in five (42%) said that nothing would motivate them to sample cultivated meat, however over a quarter (27%) would potentially change their mind if convinced that it was safe to eat.
The FSA report concluded: “The FSA will be looking to bring together key industry stakeholders later this year to consider how businesses can be supported in entering this market and guide them through the FSA’s existing regulatory framework and risk analysis process for the introduction of new food products.”
Professor Robin May, the FSA’s Chief Scientific Adviser, commented: “Our priority is to protect consumer interests by ensuring food is safe and what it says it is through a robust scientific process. We recognise the potential of alternative proteins for improving dietary health and as part of a sustainable food system.
“This important survey highlights that, while many consumers are considering trying alternative proteins, they will quite rightly only do so if they are confident that these products are safe and properly regulated. Consequently, we are working closely with businesses and trade bodies to ensure they make effective use of the FSA’s existing regulatory framework so that consumers can benefit from innovative food products whilst still having full confidence in their safety.”