Fake meat rejected by Gen Z according to research

A study by the University of Sydney and Curtin University study found Generation Z (Under 25s) were proud of Australian meat production and eating cultured meats would be a “betrayal” to their national identity.
Fake meat was defined in the survey as a lab-grown meat alternative produced by in-vitro cell cultures of animal cells NOT vegetarian patties and meat substitutes.
The University’s Centre for Advanced Food Enginomics manager Dr Diana Bogueva said Gen Z want their food to be as natural as possible.
“I think Australia’s Gen Z will continue to eat meat and they were pretty articulate that they like how Australian meat is produced.”
The study examined the perceptions of 227 people aged 18 to 25 years old living in Sydney
It found 72 per cent of Gen Z were not ready to accept cultured meat.
“Our research has found that Generation Z — those aged between 18 and 25 — are concerned about the environment and animal welfare, yet most are not ready to accept cultured meat and view it with disgust,” she said.
The take-home message is that any new food “needs to be produced in an ethical way; animal welfare and dignity.
“And plant-based products need to be transparent and have less than five ingredients if they are to be an option and acceptable.”
Dr Bogueva said 59 per cent of the study participants were concerned about the environmental impact of traditional livestock farming but many were not clear on what those impacts were.
Gen Z consumers wanted to know more about what the chemical procedures were that produced cultured meat and what its environmental footprint was, she said.
Dr Bogueva said it was more likely that young people would moderate their meat intake and increase the amount of fruit and vegetables in their diet, than replace meat with cultured alternatives.
The study also found young people were concerned about the taste of cultured meat, its health and safety attributes and they were unsure about whether it was “more sustainable” than meat production.
Some respondents also viewed cultured meat as “a conspiracy orchestrated by the rich and powerful and were determined not to be convinced to consume it”, she said.
“Generation Z are also unsure whether cultured meat is actually more environmentally sustainable, described by several respondents as potentially “resource consuming” and not being “environmentally friendly”,” Dr Bogueva said.
The study found Gen Z’s five main attitudes to fake meat were:
17% of respondents rejected all alternatives, including cultured meat, seeing it as chemically produced and heavily processed.
11% rejected all alternatives in favour of increased consumption of fruit and vegetables, saying they will stick with a vegetarian diet.
35% rejected cultured meat and edible insects but accepted plant-based alternatives because they “sounded more natural” and are “normal”; and
28% believed cultured meat was acceptable or possibly acceptable if the technology could be mastered.
A fifth group (9 per cent) accepted edible insects but rejected cultured meat as it was too artificial and not natural like insects.

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