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Understanding the (Fake) Meat Debates: Examining Public Perceptions of Alternative Proteins

May 20 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

SUMMARY: The alternative protein landscape, comprised of both plant-based animal product alternatives and the emerging field of cellular agriculture (including cultivated meat), has become a flashpoint for contemporary food system debate. Drawing from a mix of interpretive and empirical methods – including stakeholder interviews, media analysis, public opinion surveys, and consumer focus groups – this presentation provides an overview of key points of contestation in the “fake meat” debates. Fundamentally, the research argues that consumer attitudes and behaviors toward alternative proteins cannot be reduced to traditional determinants of food choice alone – notably taste, price, and convenience. As relevant as those factors continue to be, public perceptions of alternative proteins are also influenced by a set of broader ideologies related to meat, animals, technology, and the industrial food system as a whole. Highlighting divergent perspectives between and among devoted carnivores, flexible omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans alike, the presentation reflects on the future of alternative protein in terms of its technological development, market activity, and public discourse.


UCLA Rothman Family Institute for Food Studies
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2121 Murphy Hall
410 Charles E Young Dr E
Los Angeles, CA 90095 United States
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