NCBA says survey shows widespread confusion about plant-based proteins

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says some of the results from a recent survey asking consumers their thoughts on plant-based proteins are worrisome.

Danielle Beck, executive director of government affairs says across the board, the survey showed confusion.  “Fifty-five percent of respondents thought that plant-based ‘beef’ had some form of animal product in it,” she says.  “They did not understand that it was vegan or vegetarian.  One-third, if you break that down any further thought it had real meat in it in some form or another.”

She tells Brownfield they asked consumers to rank plant-based vs. beef on several attributes.  “The good news is that consumers recognized beef is a great source of protein and it’s affordable,” he says.  “They know that it’s nutritious and affordable.”

Beck says there are some survey results that weren’t as positive.  “When it comes to qualities like ‘is healthy’, ‘is natural’, ‘is less processed’, ‘is lower in sodium’, ‘is good for the environment’,” she says.  “Plant-based products won out, if not tied with beef.”

She says NCBA and the beef industry need to double down on their communication and policy efforts in order to combat the misinformation.  “At the end of the last year we saw two bills introduced into the House and Senate, both called the REAL MEAT Act,” she says.  “REAL Marketing Edible Artificials Truthfully, is an effort NCBA spearheaded from Day 1 and we’re really proud to see strong bipartisan support in both chambers.”

The online survey polled more than 1,800 consumers, ages 18 to 65.  

Brownfield interviewed Beck at the 2020 Cattle Industry Convention in San Antonio, Tx.  

AUDIO: Danielle Beck, NCBA

  • Recently someone sent me a breakdown of what is in an “impossible” meat substitute burger. I was not surprised at all. Primarily soy & salt. Had recently had a brief conversation with a lady in a check out line about it and her granddaughter. She had stopped at a place serving the newest “impossible” thing and her granddaughter wanted it. She ask the order taker if the child (6 or 7 yo) didn’t like it could it be replaced. They were inside the establishment sitting at tables. So to make a long story short the child was not happy with the taste and as children sometime will made a very embarrassing display of how dishappy she was. The order taker who had previously said no refund or replacement was quick to come out and pick up the order. Made all sorts of excuses about how he was sorry for a mistake and had a replacement in hand. The lady I was speaking with said she got a big laugh out of it and the few other customers inside the place did too.

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