Italian consumers standing at the crossroads of alternative protein sources: Cultivated meat, insect-based and novel plant-based foods
a Università degli Studi di Parma, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Aziendali, Via Kennedy 6, 43125 Parma, Italy
b Joint Research Centre, European Commission, Calle Inca Garcilaso 3, 41092 Seville, Spain
The present paper is a review of the empirical studies on consumer acceptance of novel protein sources in Italy. The authors uncovered the most recent scientific contributions regarding novel plant-based products, and insect-based foodstuffs as well as cultivated meat, in the attempt of framing the main socio-economic drivers and challenges for each product with respect to consumers’ perception and acceptance.
Novel plant-based foods and edible insects represent the most viable alternatives in the nearest future, as already available (or very close to being) to the Italian consumer and more appealing to vegetarians and vegans. Nevertheless, some intrinsic characteristics of these products have yet to be accepted. The cultivated meat represents an animal source of protein, hence undesirable for some segments of consumers, although described as a good potential substitute for conventional meat. Nevertheless, institutional, technological and cultural barriers are yet to be solved before paving the way for its presence on Italian supermarket shelves.