Nomenclature of cell-cultivated meat & seafood products
Dec 14, 2022
Cell-cultivated meat and seafood is getting closer to a reality for consumers in the US and around the world. However, regulators are still largely lagging behind on regulating production and labelling of these products. In a large experimental study using a representative US sample (N = 2653), we tested 9 different names for 3 different types of meat and seafood products in terms of their clarity, consumer appeal, and communication of safety and allergenicity. We found that terms proposed by the conventional meat and seafood industry including ‘artificial’ and ‘lab-grown’ tended to score low in terms of consumer appeal, purchase intent, and perceived safety, while ‘artificial’ also had the lowest score on clarity and communicating allergenicity. On the other hand, terms proposed by the cell-cultivated industry including ‘Novari’ scored high in terms of appeal and purchase intent but scored low in terms of clarity. The terms ‘cell-cultured’ and ‘cell-cultivated’ were the best all round labels in terms of clarity, appeal, and communicating safety and allergenicity – in particular, the addition of the prefix ‘cell-’ increased understanding compared to ‘cultured’ or ‘cultivated’ labels. The most-understood label was a short descriptive phrase (‘grown from [animal] cells, not farmed [or fished]’), suggesting that additional wording on packaging could aid consumer understanding in this early stage. A high proportion of consumers were uncertain about the allergen status of cell-cultivated products under all names, suggesting that cell-cultivated products should be labelled as the type of meat they are, and carry applicable allergen information.