Plant-based meat alternatives have grown tremendously in recent years, with an unprecedented increase in vegan and meat-sounding labelled products appearing on European Union shelves. However, a regulation clarifying what the “vegan” label means and if “meat-sounding” names should be allowed when referring to plant-based foods is still lacking. Led by opposite reasons, both vegetarian and meat producers' associations are demanding to fill this legal void. Our paper contributes to this debate by providing the results of two online experiments that measures how consumers perceive plant-based meat substitutes based on vegan vs. meat-sounding labelling. The results of the first study showed that meat-sounding labels applied to plant-based food altered perceived healthiness, but not other characteristics of the product. The second study indicated that vegan labelling exerted a negative effect on the consumers’ perception of tastiness and healthiness, and willingness to buy of plant-based foods. Importantly, these effects were moderated by the consumers’ attitudes towards meat-eating and veganism. In line with these results, we propose that the explicit use of the “vegan” label might be counterproductive to increase the sales of plant-based foods, and that the biasing impact of meat-sounding labels on plant-based food’s perception is weak.

Would you buy vegan meatballs? The policy issues around vegan and meat-sounding labelling of plant-based meat alternatives

Vecchiato, Daniel;Finos, Livio;
2022

Abstract

Plant-based meat alternatives have grown tremendously in recent years, with an unprecedented increase in vegan and meat-sounding labelled products appearing on European Union shelves. However, a regulation clarifying what the “vegan” label means and if “meat-sounding” names should be allowed when referring to plant-based foods is still lacking. Led by opposite reasons, both vegetarian and meat producers' associations are demanding to fill this legal void. Our paper contributes to this debate by providing the results of two online experiments that measures how consumers perceive plant-based meat substitutes based on vegan vs. meat-sounding labelling. The results of the first study showed that meat-sounding labels applied to plant-based food altered perceived healthiness, but not other characteristics of the product. The second study indicated that vegan labelling exerted a negative effect on the consumers’ perception of tastiness and healthiness, and willingness to buy of plant-based foods. Importantly, these effects were moderated by the consumers’ attitudes towards meat-eating and veganism. In line with these results, we propose that the explicit use of the “vegan” label might be counterproductive to increase the sales of plant-based foods, and that the biasing impact of meat-sounding labels on plant-based food’s perception is weak.
2022
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3452364
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