Study: US consumers leery of lab-grown meat

A recently published study reveals that U.S. consumers are apprehensive when it comes to eating meat grown in a laboratory, also known as in vitro meat.

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(Elnur | Bigstock)
(Elnur | Bigstock)

A recently published study reveals that U.S. consumers are apprehensive when it comes to eating meat grown in a laboratory, also known as in vitro meat.

The study, conducted by Matti Wilks and Clive J.C. Phillips of Australia’s University of Queensland, was recently published in the online science publication PLOS ONE.

Wilks and Phillips conducted an online survey from March 2016 to June 2016, in which 673 U.S. consumers, ranging in age from 18 to 70, participated.

Willingness to try in vitro meat vs. willingness to eat it regularly

Of the 673 respondents, about two-thirds said they would be willing to try laboratory-grown meat. However, when asked if they would be willing to eat in vitro meat on a regular basis, the number of people willing to do so was cut in half.

Reasons for apprehension

The most commonly cited reason for unwillingness to accept in vitro meat was the taste and appeal, with about 79 percent of survey participants saying that would be the primary barrier.

Other reasons for the apprehension included ethical reasons (24 percent), price (20 percent), health concerns (4 percent), safety concerns (3 percent), religious reasons (3 percent), environmental concerns (1 percent) and economic impact (1 percent).

Types of meat

The study took into account not only more commonly consumed meats including poultry, pork, beef and fish, but also anomalies such like horse, cat and dog meat.

Respondents said they were most unlikely to eat fish if produced as in vitro meat versus the naturally-grown product, followed by poultry, pork and beef. However, the research showed that U.S. consumers would be more likely to try horse, cat and dog in in vitro form that from the natural animal.

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