Report finds rise in Canadian consumers’ interest in cell-based meat
A new report by the Canadian Food Innovation Network and software company Fiddlehead Technologies has shown insights into how interest and activity in cell-based meat is progressing in Canada.
The study compares the progress of Canada's cell-based meat industry to its US counterpart, sharing findings on consumers’ interests.
The report has revealed that Canadian consumers’ interest in cell-based meat has grown significantly since 2000. It says that Canadian consumers increasingly searched for “lab-grown meat,” including its production process and availability for purchase.
Contrastingly, the report states that US consumers primarily searched for information about the novel foods’ safety and the FDA’s approvals for cell-based chicken.
According to the report, “Canadian queries are more focused on curiosity and interest to purchase, while US consumers show more caution and scepticism”.
The report emphasises that curiosity does not mean adoption, explaining that historically, novel foods are adopted faster in the US than in Canada.
According to the report, over the last five years, 22,800 research papers have been published on cell-based meat, with topics ranging from sustainability impact reports to biomanufacturing capacity and cell line establishment.
The US has 43 active cell-based meat or seafood companies, compared to nine in Canada – though the report states that this is “well above [Canada’s] traditional 10% fair share to US”. Canadian companies actively working in the space include Cell Ag Tech, Noblegen, Appleton Meats, Opalia, Evolved Meats, Seafuture, and Genuine Taste.
Additionally, patent applications for cell-based meat technologies have been filed in both countries, with Canada submitting 22 applications, compared to 596 applications in the US.
Currently, novel foods in Canada must go through a long approval process, having to meet requirements for food safety, labelling, marketing and other regulations.
The report states that Canadian regulators are re-evaluating the framework for cell-based meat, with the potential to create specialised regulations, which could result in delays in the introduction of products, slowing their arrival in the market.