Consumer Acceptance

Future sustainable food systems should more efficiently use natural resources and reduce food waste. Upcycled food – foods elevated in value through ingredients otherwise wasted or previously thought inedible – constitutes a new approach contributing to this much needed transition. Successful market launches of such foods requires favourable consumer perception of these products, knowing the factors determining acceptance, and an adequate communicational framing of the new concept.
Edible macroalgae (i.e., ‘seaweeds’) are a nutritious and sustainable alternative to animal-based proteins. However, consumption of seaweeds in Western countries remains low, and little is known about individual drivers of acceptance. The aim of this study was to further explore the consumer acceptability of seaweed-based food products in the UK. In an online study (N = 476), participants were presented with a general description of edible seaweeds, and descriptions of seaweed-based food products (e.g., ‘seaweed burger’).
In an explorative, cross-cultural survey, we assessed the underlying cultural concepts of meat, evaluated consumer readiness in four groups of study participants from China (20), India (20), Colombia (20), and Switzerland (20). In addition, study participants and lay people around the world used an app to make their own predictions on important future milestones defined by experts in the field, as a contribution towards a crowd-sourced timeline of the future of cultured meat.