Why is this significant?
The vast majority of Fast Food chains serve conventional meat in some way, shape or form. With the rise of cell based meat they’re going to have to work out where this fits into their business. Will it be as part of their menu in existing stores, a new chain or something else?
Research organisation Kadence International conducted a survey to find out which brands consumers would trust to provide cell based meat products. Top of the list was Chick-fil-A, but even it only had a 43% trust score! McDonalds and Burger King came in at 16% and 14% respectively, a quite abysmal result.
QSRs need to keep a very close eye on this technology as it develops, particularly as costs continue to decline. When (some would say “if”) cell based meat becomes cheaper than conventional meat then their whole business model will become unsustainable. New vegan chains continue to pop up even with only 3 % vegan/vegetarians in the US. The study says that “only” 27 % of consumers would try cell based meat, but what if even a third of those continued to buy the product? That’s potentially 9 % of consumers lost to the major chains, a significant economic impact for their businesses.
The study also quotes that only 17% of consumers had heard of cell based meat so there’s a long way for the industry to go to educate the public. Familiarity with the product is key to consumer confidence in the product. However, once cell based meats have the three attributes of familiarity, taste and cost then they’ll be positioned to make major inroads in to the conventional meat and QSR sectors.
My prediction is that it’ll only be 5 years until the three attributes have been achieved and QSRs need to have a strategy in place. If they don’t they’ll have allowed the creation of an umbrella for enterprising new chains to eat their lunch. And probably their breakfast and dinner segment as well!