Are Plant-based Meat Alternatives a Better Choice? Comparing the Consumer Perceptions, Among Other Factors of Plant-based Meat Alternatives Against Animal Origin Products

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Perez, Joseph de Andrade
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Meat consumption is a substantial contributor to the damaging impacts that are caused
to the environment. Alternatives to meat that are derived from plants have been on the
market for some time and can now be found with relative ease at supermarkets in
Ireland. This study was conducted with the intention of identifying the Irish
population’s perceptions and attitudes around eating meat substitutes and their
likelihood of switching or using them in the future. The rationale around this research
was due to the fact that the consumption of such plant-based meat alternatives is now
fairly low in the Irish population and globally in general.

In order to accomplish these goals, an online survey of Irish consumers (N = 136) was
carried out to examine the lifestyles of customers and their opinions about plant-based
meat alternatives in terms of consumption, environmental impact, processing, and
nutritional value. A tasting session was performed to determine the organoleptic
differences between the various products in order to provide additional findings
regarding the preference of consumers for traditionally produced meat products over
plant-based alternatives to traditional meat products.

The findings suggest that despite meat's reputation for having favourable organoleptic
qualities such as its look, texture, taste, and smell, this association is not entirely
justified. Traditional meat products have a worse reputation when it comes to issues
of environmental responsibility and sustainability. This would imply that replacement
needs to have comparable favourable organoleptic characteristics, but also provide a
good healthy product.

In point of fact, plant-based alternatives to meat were thought to be more
environmentally friendly, and also an opportunity to provide a healthier option to
meat if the nutritional qualities were found to be favourable. When it came to
promoting this plant-based product on shelves, naming was a significant element.
Instead of linking to meat names, the customer preferred clarity when calling the
product, such as soy-based burger instead than beefless burger. In conclusion, the
findings of this study indicate that alternatives to meat have the greatest potential to
successfully displace meat when, in terms of both taste and texture, they are most
similar to highly processed meat products and when they are sold at prices that are
comparable to those of meat.