Replacement of meat by meat substitutes. A survey on person- and product-related factors in consumer acceptance.

Author(s): 

Hoek AC and Luning PA and Weijzen P and Engels W and Kok FJ and de Graaf C

Year Published: 

2011

Journal: 

Appetite

Category: 

Study Design: 

Abstract: 

What does it take to increase the consumption of meat substitutes and attract new consumers? We identified main barriers and drivers by a consumer survey (n=553) in the U.K. and the Netherlands. Person-related factors (food neophobia and food choice motives) and product-related attitudes and beliefs towards meat and meat substitutes were compared between non-users (n=324), light/medium-users (n=133) and heavy-users of meat substitutes (n=96). Consumer acceptance was largely determined by the attitudes and beliefs towards meat substitutes and food neophobia. Key barriers for non-users and light/medium-users were the unfamiliarity with meat substitutes and the lower sensory attractiveness compared to meat. In addition, non-users had a higher tendency to avoid new foods. Hence, the less consumers were using meat substitutes, the more they wanted these products to be similar to meat. Although non-users and light/medium-users did recognize the ethical and weight-control aspects of meat substitutes, this was obviously less relevant to them. Actually, only heavy-users had high motivations to choose ethical foods, which explains their choice for meat substitutes. In order to make meat substitutes more attractive to meat consumers, we would not recommend to focus on communication of ethical arguments, but to significantly improve the sensory quality and resemblance to meat.