Happier People More Likely To Eat Cultivated Meat, Shows New Research
3 Mins Read
A new study suggests that there is a positive correlation between consumers’ psychological well-being and their willingness to consume cultivated meat.
Researchers at Singapore Management University’s School of Social Sciences and the Lee Kong Chian School of Business surveyed 948 Singaporean adults in June and July 2022 using an online questionnaire with the goal of examining the relationship between psychological well-being and their willingness to eat animal meat derived from cellular agriculture. The findings were published in the peer-reviewed journal Appetite.
This marks the first time that research has shown there is a positive relationship between a person’s psychological well-being and their willingness to consume cultivated meat. The results reveal that the increased willingness of the participants to eat cultivated meat can be further explained by a better understanding of the benefits of cultivated meat including its safety and its societal benefits.
Higher well-being and willingness to eat cultivated meat are linked
Professor Dr. Angela KY Leung, Ph.D., who co-led the study, told Green Queen that the general hypothesis they had when conducting the study was a positive correlation between psychological well-being and acceptance of cultivated meat.
Leung said well-being was defined as a positive mental state. “This has to do with people’s cognitive and affective evaluations of their life. The cognitive component concerns people’s appraisal or perception of life satisfaction, and the affective component concerns their emotional experiences (i.e., the experience of higher levels of positive emotions or lower levels of negative emotions).”
Participants were asked how often did they feel “happy”; “interested in life”; “satisfied with life”; “that you liked most parts of your personality”; “that your life has a sense of direction or meaning to it” and possible answers included selecting from a range between “never” to “everyday”.
The researchers told Green Queen that while they were not very surprised by the findings, it was encouraging to see the research providing empirical evidence to support a positive relationship between people’s psychological well-being and their receptivity to the novel food of cultivated meat for the first time.
Leung said: “It is also very insightful to find out why higher well-being people tend to have a more accepting attitude towards cultivated meat – their higher willingness is driven by the perception that cultivated meat is as healthy and nutritious, as safe as, and has the same sensory quality as conventional meat, and is beneficial to the society.”
Marketing takeaways for cultivated meat companies
When asked what cultivated meat companies and ecosystem players could take away from this research, Leung said that startups should focus on the well-being profile of their future consumers, target higher well-being individuals, and make use of information related to health and safety issues and societal benefits afforded by cultivated meat in their information campaigns and company materials.
She added that they should also look at country happiness and well-being indices to focus their marketing efforts on geographies with a higher happiness index. “They can seek to first promote greater awareness of cultivated meat in these societies, and over time higher public acceptance can be picked up by other countries to make advocacy efforts more effective.”
Leung said that cultivated meat companies should consider leveraging search advertising in their go-to-market strategies, targeting higher well-being consumers in ads and other digital marketing campaigns who are likely to perform online searches using keywords such as ‘healthy meat’, ‘safe meat’ and ‘environmentally friendly meat’.
Asian consumers open to cultivated meat
There is still very little research on consumer attitudes towards cultivated meat though separate studies conducted in Singapore and Hong Kong suggest Asians have a positive initial view of such products compared to Australians, with one study showing that Indian and Chinese people have a more favorable view of the technology than participants in the US. According to findings published last year, “food neophobia and uncertainties about safety and health seem to be important barriers to uptake of this technology.”
Correction 1 Mar 2023: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the research was featured in Science Direct. It was actually published in Appetite journal.