Attitude toward sustainable meat production technology – synthetic (in vitro) meat

Attitude toward sustainable meat production technology – synthetic (in vitro) meat

Background: A question that is currently much debated is how we can keep feeding the growing world population, and how we can do that and still protect the environment. One factor that contributes to this pressing problem is that we, consumers in the Western world, eat much meat, while the production of meat is a severe burden on the environment. Some advocate therefore that we should reduce our meat consumption considerably.

Another option, that would also be interesting from the perspective of animal welfare, would be to further invest in the technology to produce meat artificially. This type of meat, also called in vitro meat, cultured meat or synthetic meat, is grown out of cells in a laboratory. It is currently possible, though still very expensive, to grow hamburgers in the lab. If produced in larger quantities, costs might drop and consuming artificial meat might be a feasible alternative way of continue eating meat.

Public acceptance of the technology is an important issue in this respect, however. Experience has learned that the public might be opposed to technologies viewed as “tampering with nature”, e.g. as in the case of genetically modified foods. An important question therefore is how the public perceives in vitro meat, and what determines their perceptions.

Research question: The assignment is to study 1) how the public perceives in vitro meat and 2) what factors contribute significantly to these perceptions. The study can built on the results of a set of focus-group interviews held among distinct groups within the public.

This assignment relates to a research theme within the Department of Psychology of Conflict, Risk and Safety that focuses on perception and communication with respect to food related issues.

Research method: A survey seems to be the most obvious way to answer the research question.

Data-analysis: The data of this study will be analysed by quantitative data analysis programmes such as SPSS or R.

Information

Are you interested in this topic for your thesis? Please contact the theme coordinator Sven Zebel (s.zebel@utwente.nl)

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