Exploring the nature of consumer preferences between conventional and cultured meat

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD

Abstract

For millennia, we have killed animals for meat. Now, as the ethical, environmental, and public implications of our industrial system of animal farming become clearer, we must look for ways to reduce consumption of animal products which are likely to achieve traction amongst a meat-loving population.

This thesis argues for the immorality of animal agriculture, and shows that a range of social and psychological factors impede clear reasoning on this topic. It is demonstrated that many people agree with the ethics of veganism, but are unwilling to reduce their meat consumption in practice.

Cultured meat is introduced as a potential solution. Cultured meat, grown in vitro from animal cells can allow us to continue consuming real animal meat whilst circumventing the worst consequences of meat production today. The literature on consumer acceptance of cultured meat is reviewed and areas for further investigation are identified.

The empirical work in this thesis includes a cross-country survey on cultured and plant-based meat in India, China, and the USA, where major potential markets are identified. A series of experimental studies explore the best ways to name, frame, and explain cultured meat to maximize consumer acceptance and displace demand for animals.

The thesis then reviews the deluge of empirical literature which has been added to the field during this doctorate, and discusses the social implications of cultured meat in terms of religions, regulators, the media, and the broader economy. The concluding section identifies strategies for bringing cultured meat to market and discusses the findings in terms of some theoretical frameworks.
Date of Award18 Nov 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorJulie Barnett (Supervisor)

Keywords

  • cultured meat
  • meat alternatives
  • alternative proteins
  • vegetarian
  • consumer psychology

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