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Friday, December 9th, 2022

Plant-based and cultivated alternatives: massive synergies ahead

In comparison to conventional meat, cultivated meat offers numerous benefits in terms of taste, health, food justice, animal welfare, and the environment. However, it will be some time before cultivated-meat products reach the market (other than in Singapore, where it has already gained regulatory approval). In the meantime, there are opportunities to combine plant-based with cultivated-meat ingredients in order to respond more quickly to consumer demands for healthier, more sustainable, and more ethical food products. Developing specific cultivated-meat components, such as fat, means facing fewer technological and regulatory hurdles compared to developing a complete meat product, and thus has the potential to get to market more quickly. 

This is exactly what several companies are working on today. A prime example is Rügenwalder Mühle, a German meat manufacturer and pioneer in the production of plant-based products, which is collaborating with Swiss cellular-agriculture startup Mirai Food to develop a burger based on plant proteins and cultivated beef fat.[1] Adding cultivated animal fat to a plant-based product shows great potential for improving the taste and texture, as well as the nutritional value, of plant-based food products such as burgers. 

The burger example illustrates how plant-based products can benefit from certain cultivated-meat ingredients. However, it also works the other way around. Before we arrive at a 100% cultivated-meat product, adding plant-based ingredients to cultivated meat has the potential to accelerate market entry. 

But how will consumers see hybrids of plant-based and cultivated ingredients? This is the question that ProVeg tried to answer by conducting an online survey of 1,000 UK participants in July 2022. Respondents were asked about their existing perceptions of conventional, plant-based, and cultivated meat, as well as hybrid food products that combine cultivated and plant-based ingredients. In this report, we focus on the findings regarding hybrids of plant-based and cultivated ingredients. Here are some of the key results. 

Around a third of UK respondents would eat or buy hybrid plant-based/cultivated meat

35% of respondents would probably or definitely buy hybrid plant-based/cultivated meat. This result is quite promising, especially given that the vast majority of people are not at all familiar with this novel product category. 30% of respondents are unsure whether they would eat or buy hybrid plant-based/cultivated meat, meaning that there is still plenty of room to inform the public about these food products and their benefits, positively influencing consumer perceptions. Increasing people’s familiarity with plant-based/cultivated products can play an important role in acceptance.

Acceptance is higher among younger generations and men 

Around 4 in 10 Millennials and members of Gen Z would probably or definitely eat and buy hybrid plant-based/cultivated meat, compared to a likelihood of 32% for members of Gen X and 29% for Boomers. Men (39%) are more likely to give hybrid plant-based/cultivated meat products a try, compared to women (31%). In general, university-educated Millennials and Gen-Z men are more open to eating (51%) and buying (47%) hybrid plant-based/cultivated meat.

Consumer expectations of hybrid plant-based/cultivated alternatives are fairly positive

A majority of respondents expect hybrid plant-based/cultivated meat to be good for animals (57%) and good for the environment (57%), as well as nutritious (54%), healthy (50%), and safe (50%).

If you have any comments or questions about the report, please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected]


1 Vegconomist (2022) Mirai Foods Partners With Rügenwalder Mühle for Hybrid Alt Meat With Cultivated Fat. available at: Accessed 2022-11-03

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