A taste of cell-cultured meat: a scoping review


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Cell-cultured meat (CM) is a novel meat product grown in vitro from animal cells, widely framed as equivalent to conventional meat but presented as produced in a more sustainable way. Despite its limited availability for human consumption, consumer acceptance of CM (e.g., willingness to purchase and consume) has been extensively investigated. A key but under-investigated assumption of these studies is that CM’s sensory qualities are comparable to conventional, equivalent meat products. Therefore, the current review aims to clarify what is actually known about the sensory characteristics of CM and their potential impact on consumer acceptance. To this end, a structured scoping review of existing, peer-reviewed literature on the sensory evaluation of CM was conducted according to the PRISMA-ScR and Joanna Briggs Institute guidelines. Among the included studies (N = 26), only 5 conducted research activities that could be termed “sensory evaluation,” with only 4 of those 5 studies evaluating actual CM products in some form. The remaining 21 studies based their conclusions on the sensory characteristics of CM and consequent consumer acceptance to a set of hypothetical CM products and consumption experiences, often with explicitly positive information framing. In addition, many consumer acceptance studies in the literature have the explicit goal to increase the acceptance of CM, with some authors (researchers) acting as direct CM industry affiliates; this may be a source of bias on the level of consumer acceptance toward these products. By separating what is known about CM sensory characteristics and consumer acceptance from what is merely speculated, the current review reported realistic expectations of CM’s sensory characteristics within the promissory narratives of CM proponents.



cultivated meat, sensory evaluation, consumer acceptance, meat alternative, scoping review