Consumer perceptions and the future of meat consumption

Based on two surveys evaluating participants' Willingness to Pay (WTP) for animal products and plant-based substitutes, this article studies the French consumers’ perceptions regarding meat consumption. The results from the first study showed that the WTPs for plant-based products are lower than those for animal products, but that information on the impact of products on human health and the environment tends to bring WTPs closer, suggesting possibilities of substitutions between the two types of products. These findings were confirmed by additional research from the other survey. Eventually, the WTPs for meats bearing the Label Rouge signal are higher than those of meats without labels, thus widening the gap with the WTPs for plant-based substitutes. From these WTPs, we show that possible price changes for meats and plant-based alternatives could lead to significant substitutions regarding the purchased quantities of products, even if meat would continue to get significant market shares. More precisely, the consumption of meat would not disappear, but would decrease with significant increase of meat prices. Its market share would depend on the evolution of product prices and the type of information given to consumers. In the event of sharp increases of meat prices, beef producers should turn to quality meats under labels leading to higher WTP. Various considerations regarding uncertainties concerning the future are developed at the end of the article.