Consumers require education on the safety of cultured meat

June 7, 2024

A global study* commissioned by Leatherhead Food Research shows consumers feel they lack information on the safety of cultured meat. Many would also expect products containing cultured meat to carry a declaration.

Cultured meat | Food safety | Regulations | Leatherhead Food Research

Consumer attitudes to cultured meat

Our survey, which involved 7,500 consumers in six countries (Brazil, France, India, Singapore, the UK, and the US) reveals a varied international picture. Interestingly, consumers in markets where cultured meat has been authorised for sale have some of the strongest views on safety and labelling.

Singapore, the first market to authorise cultured meat, has the highest percentage of consumers who would be willing to try it (31%). However, more than a third (36%) say they don’t feel they have enough information on safety and 40% would expect cultured meat to be declared on product labels.

In the US, where the Department of Agriculture granted Upside Foods and Eat Just permission to begin production and sale of cultured meat in 2023, 22% of consumers say they would try it. Just over a quarter (27%) say they don’t have enough information on safety and 36% would expect product label declarations.

Cultured meat has not yet been authorised for sale in the UK and a third (33%) of consumers say they don’t feel they have enough information on its safety. Nevertheless, UK consumers are more willing to try cultured meat than those in the US, with 27% indicating they would do so. Of all the markets surveyed, consumers in the UK are most likely to expect declarations on product labels, at 44%.

A regulatory perspective on cultured meat

Principal Consultant Mark Moss says most markets regulate, or propose to regulate, cell culture products under their respective novel food frameworks. This applies to acellular production methods, such as precision fermentation, as well as cellular products including cultured meat.

“Novel food regulations are very stringent, covering food safety and quality protocols. Once a novel food is approved, that authorization will likely stipulate how the food should be labelled. The findings from our study indicate that this needs process needs to be transparent to persuade consumers that cultured meat products are safe. Producers might consider going beyond what legislation dictates to give consumers added assurance. Many of our survey participants said they don’t feel they have enough information on the benefits of cultured meat. Focusing on this might be a good place to start.”

In Singapore, a quarter of consumers said they would feel safe eating cultured meat if it was heavily regulated. It is likely that dedicated requirements for cultured meat will emerge in time. Meanwhile, our advice is to monitor the global regulatory situation closely. There could be opportunities to collaborate with authorities, advocating for proportionate legislation that is grounded in scientific understanding.

More information on our horizon scanning and advocacy services is available here.


* About the research | The survey referenced in this blog was conducted online between 1-11 September 2023, and the total sample size was 7,500 adults. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all adults in the participating countries: Brazil, France, India, Singapore, the UK, and the US. Additional country-specific statistics are available on request.

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