[A] 79-page report – commissioned by the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board and written by Glynn Tonsor and Ted Schroeder at Kansas State University and Jayson Lusk at Purdue University – surveyed 3,000 US adults in September 2020.
Just over two thirds (68%) indicated they regularly consumed meat, while the rest described themselves as flexitarian, vegetarians, vegans, or none of the above.
Overall, note the authors, “Beef has a good image. Consumers’ perceptions of taste, appearance, price, and naturalness of beef greatly exceed that for plant-based proteins.”
While plant-based proteins score highest on animal welfare, health, and environmental concerns, “on average these are still slightly lower scores than beef for the same attributes,” say the authors.
When it comes to price, the assumption from many stakeholders in the plant-based industry has been that as plant-based meat approaches price parity with conventional meat, it will aggressively gain market share and ultimately even displace animal-based products [assuming all other things are equal, which right now, they are not].
But the data does not necessarily support this hypothesis, says the report: “Changes in the price of beef have a much larger impact on consumer decisions to buy beef than the impact of changes in the price of plant-based offerings. This means plant-based burgers are relatively weak substitutes for beef.”