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Do Plant-Based and Blend Meat Alternatives Taste Like Meat?

AAEA members release new research in AEPP

With meat prices escalating during the Ukraine crisis and the possibility of a new COVID surge, more and more are turning to a plant-based meat to save a few dollars at the grocery store.

In the new article “Do Plant-Based and Blend Meat Alternatives Taste Like Meat? A Combined Sensory and Choice Experiment Study” published in the AEPP, Vincenzina Caputo from Michigan State Univrsity, Giovanni Sogari, from the University of Parma, and Ellen Van Loo from Wageningen University conduct a sensory and discrete choice experiment study with beef and plant-based burgers involving U.S. consumers.

Caputo says, “This research explores whether and how sensory aspects such as taste influence consumer preferences and demand of plant-based and hybrid burgers compared to conventional animal-based counterparts. We find that beef burgers are preferred over the plant-based alternatives. When comparing the preferences for the three burger alternatives, we find that in the blind tasting condition the blended burger is preferred while in the informed tasting condition the plant-based burger using animal-like protein is preferred. We also find that consumers prefer the plant-based burger with animal-like protein over the plant-based burger with pea protein. Overall, our results suggest that the success of plant-based alternatives is heavily dependent on the taste; as well as on the way these alternative burgers are made. Recognizing taste as a key factor for the expansion of plant-based meat among meat-eaters, Beyond Meat, which used pea-like protein, has adjusted the composition of its burger to even more closely resemble a typical meat flavor.”

If you are interested in setting up an interview, please contact Allison Ware in the AAEA Business Office.

ABOUT AAEA: Established in 1910, the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) is the leading professional association for agricultural and applied economists, with 2,500 members in more than 60 countries. Members of the AAEA work in academic or government institutions as well as in industry and not-for-profit organizations, and engage in a variety of research, teaching, and outreach activities in the areas of agriculture, the environment, food, health, and international development. The AAEA publishes two journals, the American Journal of Agricultural Economics and Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, as well as the online magazine Choices and the online open access publication series Applied Economics Teaching Resources. To learn more, visit

Contact: Allison Ware
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