Gen-Z, defined as the generation born between 1995 to 2012, will undoubtedly be one of the more environmental and health-conscious generations ever, and their values will have an impact on the market. Already, companies are having to adapt to more green technologies to appease the 2 billion people worldwide who are part of Gen-Z.
The food industry has felt this impact, too — Gen-Z is more concerned about animal welfare than millennials or baby boomers, and as a result eateries have had to offer plant-based options to keep up with demand. According to several reports, 75 percent of Gen-Zers are trying to cut down on meat consumption.
So it would make sense that they would be open to trying lab-grown meat, right? Well, not really. Research conducted by the University of Sydney and Curtin University and published in Frontiers in Nutrition found that 72 percent of Generation Z were not ready to accept artificial meat created in a lab.
To be clear, we’re not talking about your garden variety Beyond Sausage or Impossible Patty here — lab grown meat is when scientists collect stem cells from animals’ muscle tissue and multiply them until they create a meat like product. Mosa Meat, a Netherlands-based food technology company, says a tissue sample from one cow could create 80,000 quarter-pounder burgers.
So in other words, all that beef flavor and texture without having to kill any actual cows. Gen-Z, though, has some concerns about the taste, safety, and sustainability of such a product.
“Generation Z are also unsure whether cultured meat is actually more environmentally sustainable, described by several respondents as potentially ‘resource consuming’ and not being ‘environmentally friendly,’” lead study author Dr. Diana Bogueva, from the University of Sydney’s School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, said in a statement.
The researchers also reported the following findings:
- 17 percent of respondents rejected all meat alternatives, including cultured meat, seeing it as chemically produced and heavily processed;
- 11 percent rejected all alternatives in favor of increased consumption of fruit and vegetables;
- 35 percent rejected cultured meat and edible insects but accepted plant-based alternatives because they “sounded more natural” and are “normal.”;
- 28 percent believed cultured meat was acceptable or possibly acceptable if the technology could be mastered; and
- 9 percent accepted edible insects but rejected cultured meat as it was too artificial and not natural like insects.