Dear all, I'm pleased to share a recent article "Do Plant-Based and Blend Meat Alternatives Taste Like Meat? A Combined Sensory and Choice Experiment Study" published in the AEPP, with co-authors Vincenzina Caputo from Michigan State Univrsity, and Ellen Van Loo from Wageningen University.
In recent years, the development of plant-based and hybrid alternatives similar in use and esthetic characteristics to meat have received considerable attention by academics, food marketers, and policymakers. However, despite this emerging trend, there is little knowledge regarding consumers' choices in relation to these products, including how taste appreciation and information about the production methods affects consumer preferences and WTP.
We conducted a combined sensory and discrete choice experiment study with a 100% beef burger, a plant-based burger using pea protein, a plant-based burger using animal-like protein, and a blended burger with 70% beef and 30% mushroom involving US consumers. Respondents were either assigned to a blind or an informed tasting condition with information about the ingredients before tasting the burgers. Results reveal that (i) beef burgers are preferred over alternatives, (ii) consumers favor blended burgers over alternatives in the blind condition but demand decreases in the informed condition; (iii) consumers prefer the plant-based burger with animal-like protein over the one with pea protein.
Overall, our results suggest that the success of plant-based alternatives is heavily dependent on both the information to which respondents are exposed, including the product names, as well as the taste.