Perception of Animal Welfare Influences the Taste of Meat (II)

Presenter: Eric Anderson

Research Category: Social Sciences, Business, and Law
Student Type: Undergraduate
PI: Lisa Barrett

This is a taste study in an ongoing experiment testing the effects of perception of origin of meat on taste. Is the experience of eating meat influenced by perceived animal welfare? We previously found in a field study that meat believed to be from an ethically raised animal tasted better than meat believed to be raised in unethical conditions. In reality, the samples were identical. In the present study, subjects take part in the study in a controlled environment, provide more data (via computer questionnaires), and also taste a practice sample. Participants were given 3 identical meat samples with different descriptions for each: control (no description), ethically raised, and unethically raised (factory farm). Participants reported overall pleasantness of each sample, overall taste, and characteristics including saltiness, sweetness, bitterness, sourness, freshness, greasiness, and how savory the sample was. Participants reported that meat samples believed to be raised ethically were significantly more pleasant in taste than unethically raised meat samples. The rest of the scales show a similar trend between ethically and unethically raised samples. The control was mostly similar to ethically raised samples. The results imply that perception of origin of meat influences taste experience, and that people prefer samples originating from ethically raised animals.