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Food Technology Neophobia as a Psychological Barrier to Clean Meat Acceptance

Krings, Victoria C, Dhont, Kristof, Hodson, Gordon (2022) Food Technology Neophobia as a Psychological Barrier to Clean Meat Acceptance. Food Quality and Preference, 96 . Article Number 104409. ISSN 0950-3293. (doi:10.1016/j.foodqual.2021.104409) (KAR id:90272)


Laboratory-grown (or “clean”) meat is structurally similar to traditional meat yet comes with several environmental, health, and ethical benefits compared to regular meat. However, while some people are favorable towards clean meat, others are reluctant to engage with it. We tested whether these marked differences in clean meat acceptance are rooted in pre-test differences in fears of novel food technologies (i.e., food technology neophobia) and valuing the naturalness of food products (i.e., food naturalness importance). In three experiments (total N = 1,169), participants evaluated dishes labelled as either clean or regular meat (counter-balancing dish labels across participants). The findings (Experiments 1-3) consistently demonstrated that only omnivores higher (but not lower) in food technology neophobia evaluated clean meat dishes more negatively than regular meat dishes. We found no support for the moderating role of food naturalness importance in the evaluation of clean (vs. regular) meat dishes. Experiment 2 also included dishes labelled as plant-based meat, revealing that vegetarians and vegans evaluated clean meat dishes considerably more negatively than plant-based dishes, an effect exacerbated among those higher in food technology neophobia. Finally, Experiment 3 demonstrated that safety concerns, but not naturalness concerns, partly explained why those higher in food technology neophobia evaluated clean meat dishes as less favorable. Taken together, the findings highlight the role of general concerns about the use of new food technology as a psychological barrier to clean meat acceptance.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2021.104409
Uncontrolled keywords: cultured meat; clean meat; meat consumption; neophobia; naturalness; cell-based meat; vegan; omnivore
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Signature Themes: Food Systems, Natural Resources and Environment
Depositing User: Kristof Dhont
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2021 08:47 UTC
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2022 23:00 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Krings, Victoria C.

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Dhont, Kristof.

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