How do consumers react to lab-grown meat?

Lab-grown meat, meat produced using cellular biotechnology, is a promising solution to the environmental, health, and financial issues associated with meat production and consumption. However, we find that consumer reactions to lab-grown meat are more negative than their reactions to other food products (e.g., dairy products) that are produced using very similar technologies. The present investigation identifies a novel explanation for this negative reaction: lab-grown meat reminds consumers of the process of creating life and, as a technology, seems to violate the laws of nature. In addition, we demonstrate that two theory-driven interventions can effectively increase consumer acceptance of lab-grown meat by weakening the associations between producing lab-grown meat and the process of creating life. Combining biological and psychological perspectives, this research provides a systematic theoretical understanding of consumers’ resistance to lab-grown meat and suggests important directions for future consumer research on food technology and societal issues.