German, French consumers open to trying cultured meat

New research from the University of Bath has revealed a growing interest in and openness for cultured meat as German and French consumers seek to reduce their overall meat consumption.

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Andreykuzmin | Dreamstime.com
Andreykuzmin | Dreamstime.com

New research from the University of Bath has revealed a growing interest in and openness for cultured meat as German and French consumers seek to reduce their overall meat consumption.

“We found that Germany and France both represent promising markets for cultured meat. The data tells us that large portions of these populations, especially Germany, are actively reducing their meat consumption and many others intend to eat less meat in the future. Real widespread concerns about the environment and animal welfare appear to be driving these changes,” explained lead author Christopher Bryant from the Department of Psychology at the University of Bath.

Cultured meat uses real animal cells that are grown in a stainless-steel tank known as a bioreactor. The process can be used to produce a product that resembles chicken, beef, pork and other meats.

Survey says

The study’s findings, published in the journal Foods, are based upon the results of  a survey that asked 1,000 people in each country for their thoughts on cultured meat, as well as current and intended dietary habits.

Flexitarianism – the desire to reduce, but not fully eliminate meat consumption – is a growing trend among European consumers. Nearly one-third (31%) of the German consumers said they follow a meat-reduced or flexitarian diet. Meat consumption is more popular in France. More than two-thirds (69%) identify as meat eaters, with only 26% eating a flexitarian diet. These differences are likely due to culture and tradition, the researchers hypothesized.

Although the majority of consumers in France and Germany were unfamiliar with the term cultured meat, 44% of French and 58% of German respondents indicated that they would be interested in trying the lab-grown meat alternative.

Intriguingly, the highest rates of cultured meat acceptance occurred in agricultural and meat workers. In the U.S., some of the world’s largest meat producers have partnered with cultured meat startups. For example, Tyson Ventures, a Tyson venture capital subsidiary, has invested in two cell-cultured meat companies, Memphis Meats and Future Meat Technologies.

“Cultured meat technology represents a way to produce real meat without the ethical, environmental and public health costs of industrial animal farming,” Bryant said. “As plant-based and cultured meat become better and more affordable, we are likely to see more people moving away from industrially farmed animal meat.”

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