Meat grown in labs, also known as cultured meat, is currently under development and will likely soon be available on supermarket shelves. Such new meat-based products may tackle some of the most controversial societal concerns related to the industry, in particular animal wellbeing and environmental impacts, with further potential improvements concerning food security. However, due to its high degree of novelty, it remains unclear how consumers view this type of food product, particularly in terms of beliefs regarding its intrinsic attributes such as safety, nutrients and flavor characterization, and its positive externalities concerning the environment, animal welfare, and food security. The present study aims at unveiling the perception, acceptance, and willingness to try, buy, and pay a premium price for cultured meat in the Italian context, deconvoluting the effect of providing positive information to consumers. Such investigation offers new insights for the development of targeted marketing strategies by deepening the understanding of consumers' perception of this lab-grown food product. Indeed, the study reveals that positive information affects the consumers' perception towards safety and nutritional characteristics of cultured meat and the willingness to pay a premium price for this new food product accordingly. The global meat production system is currently under pressure, particularly for its environmental and animal wellbeing impacts, as well as for the increasing protein demand worldwide. In this regard, cultured meat is currently a hot topic in the industrial, political, and societal arenas, revealing itself as the potential relief for the issues above. However, its high degree of novelty may hamper the extent of consumers' acceptance. This research assesses for which beliefs concerning intrinsic attributes and positive externalities, the provision of information is a sufficient tool for affecting the perception and acceptance of cultured meat on a panel of Italian consumers. Changes in perception and willingness to try, buy, and pay are assessed by measuring the variation before and after the provision of positive information related to the product. The results show that perception is affected by positive information concerning safety and nutritional characteristics, whereas the opposite occurs regarding the product flavor. Furthermore, findings reveal that, while the willingness to buy increases after providing positive information, the willingness to try does not. Finally, information on intrinsic attributes and positive externalities of the cultured meat would have to be combined with different approaches for further enhancement of consumers' perception and acceptance.
To what extent are consumers' perception and acceptance of alternative meat production systems affected by information? The case of cultured meat / Mancini, M. C.; Antonioli, F.. - In: ANIMALS. - ISSN 2076-2615. - 10:4(2020), p. 656. [10.3390/ani10040656]
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