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    Brits increasingly game to try lab-grown meat and insects

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    A third of UK consumers are willing to try lab-grown meat and a quarter would try insects, a new research has found.

    The survey by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) into public perceptions of emerging alternative proteins has also revealed a greater number (60%) are willing to try plant-based products many of which are already on the market.

    The research also highlighted the importance of food safety for consumers as they consider it as the top factor in encouraging them to try lab-grown meat or edible insects. Assurance around food safety is already the main reason people are willing to eat plant-based proteins.

    Over three quarters (77%) of respondents perceived plant-based proteins as being safe to eat compared to half (50%) for edible insects and 30 per cent for lab grown meat.

    “This important survey highlights that, while many consumers are considering trying alternative proteins, they will quite rightly only do so if they are confident that these products are safe and properly regulated,” Professor Robin May, FSA chief scientific adviser, said.

    “Consequently, we are working closely with businesses and trade bodies to ensure they make effective use of the FSA’s existing regulatory framework so that consumers can benefit from innovative food products whilst still having full confidence in their safety.”

    Alternative, or novel, sources of protein for human consumption are an emerging food and are mainly associated with plant proteins, insects and microorganisms.

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    The report has found that awareness of alternative proteins is high amongst consumers, with 90 per cent of respondents reporting that they had heard of plant-based proteins, 80 per cent had heard of edible insects and 78 per cent had heard of lab grown meat.

    According to the survey, the most common reasons to try plant-based proteins include: safe to eat (44%) and health reasons (39%) or environmental or sustainability (36%) reasons. The biggest barrier to trying plant-based proteins was preference for traditional meats (36%).

    Environmental and sustainability were the most common reasons for trying lab-grown meat (40%) and edible insects (31%).

    Two in five (42%) reported that nothing could encourage them to try lab grown meat, but over a quarter (27%) could be persuaded if they knew it was safe to eat and 23 per cent if they could trust that it was properly regulated.

    In the case of edible insects, two-thirds said nothing could make them try it. One in eight (13%) could be persuaded if they knew it was safe to eat and 11 per cent if they looked appetising.

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