New EIT Food project - Consumer attitudes towards healthier processed meat products

As consumers are increasingly shifting towards healthier lifestyles and diets, the demand for healthier meat products is equally increasing.

2020.06.18 | Merete Elmann

Healthier meat products have a major economic potential and are attracting considerable research and media attention as a way of meeting consumer demands. Whether this potential will be realised and at what speed will be contingent partially on how healthier meat products benefit environment and whether consumers chose to accept and buy them.

Consumer attitudes towards healthier processed meat products – the new European Innovation and Technology (EIT) Food communication project at the MAPP Centre, Aarhus BSS, in collaboration with University of Reading (UK), CSIC (Spain), and ABP Food Group (Ireland) – aims to provide answers to the questions above.

Specifically, the project focuses on healthier meat products that have modified sensory properties usually by reducing or eliminating the unhealthy constituents found in some meat, such as high levels of saturated fats and salt, as well as by substituting animal-source protein with plat-source protein. The project takes into account three European countries (Denmark, Spain, and the UK) to provide an overview of consumers’ perceptions and acceptance of healthier meat products mapping the conditions that lead to consumers’ adoption (vs. rejection) of healthier modifications in these products.

Results of focus groups conducted so far across the three countries show that consumers have generally negative attitude towards healthier meat products due to over-processing and production trust issues. Nevertheless, meat-substitution with plant-based ingredients together with fat and salt reduction show specific conditions under which the acceptance of healthier meat products would be possible.

The next stages of the project will use these results for the development of an online survey and experiments aimed at quantitatively testing which combinations of product-related factors (e.g., ingredients, meat base) and marketing-related factors (e.g., packaging, price) maximise consumers’ acceptance of healthier meat products.

Overall, results from this project will provide useful insight for the manufacturing and marketing of new healthier meat products.

See more about the project at https://www.eitfood.eu/public-engagement/projects/consumer-attitudes-towards-healthier-processed-meat-products-2020

For further information, please contact Associate Professor Marija Banovic (maba@mgmt.au.dk) or Postdoctoral Researcher Ada Maria Barone (amba@mgmt.au.dk).

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