What Is in My Steak? Ingredient Lists and Individual Preferences for Alternative Proteins in Singapore (78631)

Session Information: Mental Health & Behavioural Science
Session Chair: Terry van Gevelt

Thursday, 28 March 2024 10:05
Session: Session 1
Room: Room 607
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation

All presentation times are UTC + 9 (Asia/Tokyo)

Alternative proteins (e.g. plant-based and lab-cultured meat) are seen as a sustainable solution to food security issues. In Singapore, a resource-constrained country that imports over 90 percent of its food, regulators lead the way in approving lab-cultured meat for consumption, while the private and public sectors readily endorse plant-based meat. Despite its enthusiastic embrace of alternative proteins, there remain several fundamental questions surrounding the long-term implications of alternative protein consumption in Singapore and elsewhere. Arguably the most significant question concerns long-term public health implications. This is as plant-based and lab-cultured meats are both processed products with relatively lengthy ingredient lists. The endorsement of the current generation of alternative proteins therefore stands at odds with existing public health messaging that discourages the consumption of processed foods on individual and public health grounds.

Importantly, the processed nature of alternative proteins is generally not well understood by the public. This is unsuprising given that messaging tends to emphasise the sustainability and/or purported health benefits of consuming alternative proteins. I suggest that in making the decision to consume alternative proteins, many individuals are therefore doing so with insufficient information to make an informed choice. Using an experimental framework, I test this hypothesis by exploring whether the salient provision of ingredient lists affects individual preferences for alternative proteins in Singapore. I find that when presented with ingredient lists, individuals are significantly less likely to select alternative proteins for consumption. My findings suggest a note of caution in advancing the transition towards alternative proteins.

Terry van Gevelt, Singapore Management University, Singapore

About the Presenter(s)
Terry van Gevelt is Associate Professor of Urban Sustainability and Lee Kong Chian Fellow at the College of Integrative Studies, Singapore Management University.

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Posted by Clive Staples Lewis

Last updated: 2023-02-23 23:45:00