Survey finds consumers largely prefer beef to protein alternatives

The latest Consumer Food Insights report from Purdue University’s Center for Food Demand Analysis and Sustainability finds consumers overwhelmingly prefer beef to plant-based or cell-cultured alternatives.

Joe Balagtas is the lead author of the study and an ag economics professor at Purdue University.  “Across 15 food attributes, from taste to price to environmental outcomes and health,” he says. 

He tells Brownfield there was one instance where plant-based proteins were rated higher than beef.  “There are more consumers who reported that plant-based meats were more animal welfare friendly than beef,” he says.

Balagtas says the jury is still out on cell-cultured proteins, which received FDA approval earlier this year but have yet to hit the market.  “It’s a challenge, an obstacle, for those products in consumers’ minds,” he says.  “On price, on healthfulness, on environmental impact.  The majority of consumers currently view beef as preferable on those attributes.” And, he says, most consumers aren’t reaching for a plant-based protein alternative and it remains a niche product. 

More than 1,200 consumers across the U.S. were surveyed. 

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