Market Transparency of Animal Source Foods Alternatives to achieve consumer choice: an intercontinental perspective
PhD student: Mrs J. Vandenbulcke
Promotor: Mrs Prof E. Terryn
Duration: 20/9/2017 - 19/9/2023
Worldwide, the market of animal source foods alternatives (ie. food products for which no animals have to be raised, used or slaughtered) is booming. The growing demand for these alternatives have led to a broader product range in supermarkets. However, it is not always clear for consumers what they are actually buying or whether the product is fully in line with their ethical preferences. These information asymmetries result from a lack of market transparency. The current transparency debates mainly center on the following three issues. First, the animal source foods alternatives often consist of non-traditional foods - such as quinoa, insect or cultured meat (ie. labgrown meat) - but insufficient knowledge can create aversion or unrealistic expectations among consumers. A legal framework which develops trust and correctly informs consumers is crucial to enable the successful marketing of non-traditional foods. Second, the animal source food designations given to these alternative products, e.g. sofish burger, can confuse consumers. Thus, safeguards against possible misleading information must be foreseen. Third, vegan and vegetarian claims and quality marks are often defined and regulated by private persons. Although these claims in first instance simplify complex information, inadequate governmental controls could diminish their reliability. This research aims to respond to these transparency issues and will base its recommendations on an intercontinental comparative analysis between the EU, USA and Australia. First, an examination of the possible optimisation of the market transparency will be carried out. Thereafter, the research will focus on the effectiveness of authorities’ monitoring and enforcement powers.