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Consumer Evaluation of in vitro “Meat”


Apr 19, 2017


The March 22nd edition of CHICK-CITE reported the debut of synthetic laboratory-cultured chicken produced by Memphis Meats. An attitudinal study on in vitro meat was recently conducted by researchers affiliated to an Australian University*

 The study ascertained the response of 670 U.S. subjects to consuming meat prepared in vitro. The study concluded that respondents were willing to try synthetic meat but were not prepared to purchase and eat products on a regular basis. Understandably vegetarians and vegans were more likely to appreciate benefits compared to traditional meat derived from livestock.


Politically liberal respondents showed a greater tendency to accept in vitro products. This finding should create some concern as Tyson Foods and Maple Leaf Foods of Canada have invested in alternatives to conventional meat. In the case of Tyson Foods their commitment is miniscule in relation to their assets and they probably regard their contribution as an exercise in gathering information on an alternative technology.

The study category entitled “potential barriers to engagement” included taste and appeal of the product; ethical concerns; health and the environment and economic impacts. Taste as the primary barrier was noted by 7 percent of the respondents. One-third of the respondents were willing to pay neither more nor less for in vitro meat compared to conventional product.

About 15 percent of respondents were willing to pay “somewhat more” with only one percent willing to pay “much more”. Given the astronomical cost of in vitro meat at the present time, there appears to be little prospect for commercialization even if the barriers relating to taste and acceptability are overcome. Cost would have to be reduced to conventional price requiring a profound advance in technology. In the meantime vegans will have to be content with cardboard-textured and tasteless veggie-burgers!

*Wilks, M. and Phillips, C. J. C. Attitudes to in vitro meat: A survey of potential customers in the United States


Copyright 2017 Simon M. Shane