What is the new cultivated meat sector all about and how can PR help to boost its reputation before its even launched into the market?
As the global population continues to grow, so does the demand for sustainable and ethical food solutions. In recent years, one revolutionary technology has been making waves in the food industry – cultivated meat. Here in the UK, this innovative sector has not only captured the attention of conscious consumers but has also pushed the food industry and its comms’ support channels to consider how best to position such a potentially controversial sector.
Cultivated meat, also known as lab-grown or cell-based meat, is produced by isolating animal cells and multiplying them in a controlled environment to create edible meat products without the need for traditional animal farming. This process offers numerous benefits, such as reduced environmental impact, minimised animal suffering, and potential improvements in food safety.
One of the key factors contributing to the success of cultivated meat in the UK is the supportive regulatory environment: the government’s willingness to embrace innovative food technologies has provided a fertile ground for the sector to flourish. Regulatory bodies have been actively engaging with the industry to ensure that necessary guidelines and safety standards are in place, inspiring consumer confidence in this novel product. But it’s also clear that specialist FMCG PR will be instrumental in fostering consumer acceptance and driving industry growth, not only when it’s time to launch to the mass market but now, in the early days, to help start forming positive public opinion.
So what can cultivated meat companies and labs start doing, even now, to ensure a warm reception to future products?
Build Trust through Transparency
Public perception of cultivated meat was initially met with scepticism and apprehension. In a bid to overcome this, industry players have adopted transparent communication strategies, actively engaging with the public through social media, to educate consumers about the science behind cultivated meat, its potential benefits, and its role in shaping a sustainable future. Labs and companies need to continue to put out positive news wherever possible, and work with a food and drink PR agency to invite journalists and KOLs into their facilities to allow them to see the production methods to ensure there is no secrecy around cultivated meat.
Collaborations and Endorsements
When the time comes to form strategic partnerships, these will play a pivotal role in the acceptance of lab-grown meat. By collaborating with popular restaurants, fast-food chains, and celebrity chefs and influencers, cultivated meat companies will be able to reach wider audiences and create a buzz around their products, breaking down misconceptions about cultivated meat. And when the time does come for cultivated meat to land on a menu, allowing it to take centre stage will be really important. Meraki, a modern Greek restaurant in London’s West End, already offers a variety of Redefine Meat ingredients, peppered through the main menu – not tucked away in a vegetarian section, leading the way in making them more socially acceptable.
Recognising the opportunity
Yes, there has been resistance to cultivated meat, but a recent Food Standards Agency poll shows that one third (34%) of UK consumers would try lab grown products. Harnessing this, along with facing the resistance to it head on, will be really important for companies looking to lead the lab-grown meat pack. The environmental and animal welfare implications need to be properly communicated via a PR campaign in order to get consumers to start really caring about the cultivated meat cause, and see it as a viable option for future generations.