86% of American chefs willing to serve cultivated meat, survey finds

22% of chefs indicated they are "very interested"
calendar icon 11 November 2022
clock icon 5 minute read

SuperMeat, a cultivated meat-producing foodtech company, revealed the results of a survey of chefs across America, spanning fine dining to fast food. Results show consumers are becoming more conscious of the impact of their dietary choices and chefs are interested in the benefits and appeal of cultivated meat options, even if it means paying more. 

As cultivated meat nears the market, these results signify that the premiere foodservice professionals across the country are prepared and awaiting the opportunity to try it for themselves.

"It is great to see the interest and positivity from the professional culinary community for cultivated meat. This demonstrates that chefs are more than intrigued by cultivated meat, understand the benefits, and are ready to see it served in mainstream dining," says Ido Savir, CEO of SuperMeat. "SuperMeat is thrilled to continue our work to commercialize cultivated meat products and be among the first to bring these options to menus across the US."

Chefs are Peckish for Chicken – Except in the South

Reflective of US dining habits, the type of cultivated meat chefs are most interested in trying is poultry with 51% indicating they would be interested in tasting it, while the remaining choices of beef, exotic meats, seafood and pork were pretty evenly split from 38% to 35%.

There were, however, some notable differences in meat preferences based on region and type of restaurant:

  • While most regions had similar opinions, chefs from the South were vastly different with beef and exotic meats being tied as the top choice at 44%, and poultry being selected by only 26% of chefs
  • Pork was the top choice for fine dining chefs at 52%, whereas poultry was by far the highest choice for those working in fast food at 62%
  • Those who cook mainly American cuisine also heavily favored poultry (64%), while those focused on Italian cuisine leaned toward seafood (56%), with chefs in Japanese, French and Indian cuisines favoring exotic meats

Diners increasingly interested in meat alternative menu options

Concern for the environment and animal wellness, health and dietary restrictions and other lifestyle choices have all contributed to higher interest in meat alternatives on menus. In fact, 65% of chefs have seen increased demand in the last five years – in particular, 87% of restaurants in the Midwest and 82% of fast-food establishments noted the rise in consumer interest for meat alternatives.

  • 86% of chefs who cook mainly Japanese cuisine saw an increase in demand for alternative meat compared with only 48% of Italian cuisine chefs
  • Today, 60% use plant-based ingredients to create their own alternative options, and 45% use existing/off-the-shelf plant-based meat alternatives
  • If it were an option, 80% would consider cultivated meat in place of meat alternatives on their menu

Food safety, environmental friendliness contribute to interest

Chefs have a lot to consider when choosing menu items including taste, cost, customer demand and more – and these major factors determine if and why they would incorporate cultivated meat into their menus. Food safety was cited as chefs' top motivator for serving cultivated meat, with more than half indicating it was important (51%). Other key factors are environmental benefits and customer demand. Motivators differed significantly based on type of establishment as well, fine dining chefs pointed to environmental benefits as a top motivator (52%), followed by control of taste and texture (48%), whereas those working in fast food establishments were more concerned about food safety (60%).

Chefs willing to pay premium 

Understanding the multiple benefits of cultivated meat, 77% of chefs are willing to pay a premium to include it on their menu, with two-thirds of chefs saying they'd be willing to pay between 11-15% more than traditional meat.

  • More chefs in the Midwest (87%) than any other region indicated they'd be willing to pay a premium of some kind for cultivated meat options
  • Meanwhile, chefs in the West were the most willing to pay a high-ticket premium – with 16% saying they would pay 16-20% more; only 6% of chefs nationally indicated they'd be willing to pay this high of a markup
  • Chefs cooking Mediterranean were overwhelmingly (83%) willing to pay a premium of 11-15%, whereas chefs cooking Italian and Mexican cuisine largely considered a lower premium of 5-10%
  • Two-thirds of chefs surveyed pointed to high cost as the greatest potential deterrent to trying cultivated meat
  • When it came to motivating factors for purchasing cultivated meat, chefs in French and Japanese cuisines pointed to product quality and flavor and customer demand as top reasons, while chefs cooking Italian cuisine were most motivated by environmental benefits and animal welfare. The majority of other cuisines selected health benefits as the top motivator

Most chefs indicated they would be early adopters once cultivated meat became available, with more than half (52%) saying they would be willing to add cultivated meat and poultry to their menu one to two months after it became available. Chefs in the West and Northeast are likely to add cultivated meat much more quickly with 23% and 21% respectively saying they would include it on their menu immediately after it became available, while chefs from the South were much more hesitant with more than half (51%) saying they would wait three to six months.

Chefs are optimistic that cultivated meat will become fully integrated into mainstream hospitality culture and restaurants relatively soon, with 79% believing it will happen in less than one year – indicating diners and consumers alike are eager for the commercialization of cultivated meat.

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