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Safety of Cultivated Meat and Seafood Ranks Highest for Japanese Consumers


14 February 2024: APAC Society for Cellular Agriculture (APAC-SCA) released a new report today, revealing that 42.2% of Japanese consumers are willing to try cultivated meat or seafood products with the condition that it has been proven safe. Notably, 4 in 10 of the surveyed population (43.7%) perceived the presence of Japanese government regulations as the most important attribute in determining the safety of these products. For the industry, this signifies the importance of close collaboration with the Japanese authorities to build clear regulatory frameworks with a strong emphasis on the safety of cultivated meat and seafood.


The ‘APAC-SCA Consumer Report: Prospect of Cultivated Meat in Japan’ was commissioned by APAC-SCA and the analysis were carried out by Akira Igata, Project Lecturer at the Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, The University of Tokyo and the Director of the Japan Association for Cellular Agriculture (JACA). The survey was conducted in May 2023, and sampled 1,000 Japanese consumers. This survey and report aim to better understand behavioural trends and perceptions of cultivated meat and seafood among consumers.

 

According to the report, more than half of the Japanese respondents did not recognise the term 'cell-based foods' (58%), with only a small group (3%) sharing that they understood in detail the concept of cultivated meat and seafood. While 37% of consumers were unsure what to expect from cultivated meat and seafood products, safety, health and price were highlighted as the top three drivers that could influence Japanese consumers’ intention to try cultivated meat and seafood products.

 

Commenting on the findings, Peter Yu, Program Director of APAC-SCA, said it is natural for consumers to be cautious towards food products they do not recognise or are uncertain about its safety. Multistakeholder collaboration towards a robust regulatory framework is therefore essential to assure consumers of the safety of cultivated foods in Japan.

 

“Communicating the safety of cultivated meat and seafood products has always been the key focus for the industry. The 2023 report released by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) concluded that many of the hazards identified in cultivated foods already exist in conventionally produced foods and livestock agriculture. Cultivated meat and seafood are safe for consumption if produced and handled well.

 

Considering that over 6 in 10 consumers (64%) are unaware if cultivated meat and seafood are safer than conventional products, there is a great opportunity and incentive for close collaboration between the government and industry to engage consumers in the food safety dialogue for cultivated meat and seafood. This will increase consumer confidence and drive widespread acceptance in the long run. Ensuring that cultivated meat and seafood is available as a complementary food option in Japan is vitally important for food security without environmental and ethical concerns associated with conventional meat production.”

 

For Igata, he notes that companies should pay attention to the younger generation of Japanese consumers. “This survey reveals interesting characteristics about the next generation of Japanese consumers. More than half of men in their twenties have heard of "cell-based foods," nearly 30% are interested in trying them, and a whopping 62% answered that they would eat these products if they were cooked.”

 

“Perhaps most importantly, one third of the respondents in their twenties did not select any options when being asked to choose from a list of potential concerns they may have about cell-based food. Understanding the proclivities of the next generation of Japanese consumers would be critical for companies interested in breaking into the Japanese market."


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APAC-SCA is a collective focused on establishing, implementing, and developing strategic frameworks to spur innovation in the Cellular Agriculture space. Our members are founders of trailblazing ventures invested in advancing cultivated meat and seafood (CMS) to meet the soaring protein demand; for better health, security, and sustainability. Have any questions? Reach out to us at info@apac-sca.org.

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