A new study carried out by Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, surveyed 987 American, 1,024 Indian, and 1,019 Chinese consumers regarding the notion of diet flexibility and their “food neophobia”, or the reluctance to try new foods. The findings demonstrated that Asian consumers were far more accepting of the idea of trying new cultured foods such as lab grown meats.
Frontiers mention the results of a 2018 survey by Surveygoo which found that 40% of US consumers would buy clean meat, compared to only 18% for UK consumers, and in addition, Hoek et al. found significantly higher use of plant-based meats in the UK compared to the Netherlands. The Frontiers survey is reportedly the first to address the issue of acceptance towards cultured meat in India. China and India are identified as the prime regions in which to assess consumer opinions of clean meat, these countries have the highest population, and their rising economies and increasing numbers of consumers who can afford to purchase meat, signifies that meat consumption will continue to rise dramatically over the next decades.
Key findings from the study include the following:
- The researchers found significantly higher acceptance of clean and plant-based meat in India and China compared to the USA.
- The researchers found high levels of acceptance of clean meat in the three most populous countries worldwide, and with even higher levels of acceptance in China and India compared to the USA.
- These results underline the importance of clean meat producers exploring new markets for their products, especially as meat consumption in developing countries continues to rise.
- In the USA, the researchers found that more politically liberal people and those more familiar with the product were more likely to buy it.
- In China, women are more likely than men to buy plant-based meat.
- Meat eaters are significantly more likely than vegetarians and vegans to buy plant-based meat.
- In India, omnivores and those who eat more meat are again more likely to eat plant-based meat.
- Higher income groups in India expressed more interest in plant-based meat, as did more educated and more politically liberal consumers.