Consumer Perceptions of Various Meats and Meat-Substitutes: A Lab Based Study
This study explores the appeal of meat alternative burger products as an option for reducing individual and collective meat consumption. Animal meat plays a dominant role in the diet of most consumers in the United States, leading to a host of dietary, environmental, and ethical considerations. Historically, asking consumers to voluntarily abstain from meat consumption has been unsuccessful; self-identified vegetarians have never grown above 10% of the U.S. population. However, the newly available set of burger alternatives represents a significant shift —for the first time, vegan meat substitutes aim to fully replicate the taste and feel of meat in a convincing way and are being marketed as an option for climate and health-conscious eaters. This study asked participants to taste and rank four burger types: traditional beef, a mushroom/beef blend, pea protein (typically marketed as “Beyond Meat®”), and the Impossible™ Burger. These participants were split into groups based on the level of identifying product information available to them, allowing us to determine the impact of this information on overall “liking” for each sample. Our results show that information typically plays an important role in predicted liking, an effect that is strong and statistically significant for all the samples in this analysis with the marked exception of the Pea Protein burger. This analysis also offered weak insights into demographic predictors of liking for each sample, showing that males preferred Pea Protein burgers more than females, politically liberal individuals preferred Blended burgers more than non-liberals, and that self-identified conservatives rated Pea Protein burger lower than other demographic groups. These results offer insights into the various ways that each of these burger types can be marketed sand targeted to consumers, including the type of language that contributes to their respective appeal. This is important in the context of the marketing of vegan meat products, particularly as a way to reduce demand for environmentally harmful beef.
alternative proteins; consumer studies; sustainable diets
Gomez, Miguel I.
Milstein, Mark B.
Applied Economics and Management
M.S., Applied Economics and Management
Master of Science
Attribution 4.0 International
dissertation or thesis
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution 4.0 International