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    Consumer attitudes to fast-food meat substitutes focus of student investigation

    Posted 7 April 2022

    Ted Le Rendu, who is investigating the growing trend for meat substitutes in fast-food restaurants.

    The attitudes of consumers towards the growing trend for meat substitutes in fast-food restaurants are being investigated by a Harper Adams University student.

    Ted Le Rendu, a final year BSc (Hons) Food Technology and Product Development student, was inspired to undertake the research following a placement year with frozen food company Birds Eye, working as a Product Development Technologist in Norwich.

    He added: “At Birds Eye I was involved in a project with the Green Cuisine team, who wanted to move their already successful brand in retail over to the fast-food market.

    “We started developing meat substitute product concepts to pitch to all the major fast-food chains in the UK, in the hope that we could get one of our products onto their menus.
    “We are all aware of the attitudes and key motivations consumers have to purchase meat substitutes.

    “Consumption of meat substitutes has been the largest growing trend of the past decade, with many new developments showing up in retail outlets from the likes of Quorn, Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. The attitudes towards these products have been studied in detail - however, I wanted to see if these attitudes differ when meat substitutes are being sold in fast-food restaurants.”

    To analyse attitudes, Ted drew together a focus group using fellow Harper Adams students – choosing his respondents carefully to ensure a broad range of views.

    He added: “All were from mixed demographics that were identified in the literature as the key consumer groups that had in-depth attitudes towards meat substitutes in fast food restaurants. These included vegans, vegetarians, flexitarians and non-users of meat substitutes.

    “The sales of meat substitutes in fast-food have been increasing, and this research aims to justify the growth of meat substitutes in fast food and will outline any recommendations for the main fast-food players such as McDonald’s and KFC to implement in order to continue to grow in this area.”

    Ted, originally from Stockport, was able to discuss his proposed research at the inaugural Harper Adams University Food and Business Research Mini-conference.

    Finding himself drawn to food technology while at school, Ted believes the range of career choices it presents makes his subject an ideal choice. He added: “I was under the misconception that the only career to come out of food technology was cheffing or catering.

    “I then decided to go on and study a Diploma in Food Technology and Management at a land-based agricultural college.

    “The course made me aware of all the different career options within the food industry from new product development to food retail buying.

    “Harper Adams was highly recommended to me by my course tutors as the perfect choice for studying food technology, due to their specialism in food production and other global issues.”

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