In November of 2017, we shared the results of a poll run by the Sentience Institute, a non-profit think tank, that found that the majority of Americans DISAPPROVE of slaughterhouses. The poll found that 47 percent of U.S. adults support a BAN on slaughterhouses. The poll also found that 53 percent would PREFER to eat clean meat (lab-grown cultured meat) instead of animal-based meat if the price was competitive.
The Oklahoma State Agricultural Economics Department conducted a similar study recently to see if they would get the same results and indeed, the results reflect the findings of the Sentience Institute. Oklahoma State found that while 90 percent of U.S. consumers still eat meat, 47 PERCENT (almost half!) agreed with supporting a ban on slaughterhouses. According to the survey results, taste, safety, and price still remains important values for consumers when buying food. To view the complete survey results, click here.
Interestingly, the study found that consumers want to eat healthier but still consume meat and dairy products – something that might seem like a setback but can actually work as an opportunity. This is where “clean meat” could come in to curb meat consumption, as we are reaching a time where the question of how we are going to feed a growing population that is set to reach nine billion by 2050 cannot be ignored.
Demand for protein in the developed and developing world is at an all-time high, with the average person in the U.S. consuming 103 grams per day, around double the actual recommended amount. The animal agriculture system already covers over 45 percent of the world’s land mass, uses a majority of finite freshwater water resources, and is responsible for rampant air and water pollution – not to mention is the largest singular source of global greenhouse gas emissions. Even with all the resources that this industry uses, nearly one billion people still go hungry.
“This month’s FooDS survey shows, however, that the results by the Sentience Institute survey was not due to a bias sample or flawed methodology. Even though most Americans eat meat, they also do not like the idea of slaughterhouses,” said Dr. Bailey Norwood, the lead researcher on the Oklahoma State study.
While there is a wide gap between actions and values, studies show that one-third of Americans are leaving meat off their plates more frequently, and the plant-based protein market is booming. The global plant-based meat market is projected to reach $5 billion by 2020 and plant-based protein could represent one-third of overall protein by 2054. Considering these plant-based alternatives – and clean meat – do not come with the same health and environmental concerns that meat does, animal-free protein will be the way forward.
To learn more about the environmental impact of our food choices as well as trends and developments in the plant-based food space, check out our podcast #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias.
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