Transformative Innovation Policies and Perpetuating Traditional Practices: Political Stakeholders’ Perceptions of Cellular Agriculture in Germany

Tutkimustuotos: KonferenssimateriaalitKonferenssiabstrakti


The production and consumption of animal-based foods are steadily increasing worldwide due to the growing world population and dietary change. Livestock production is one of the main contributors to environmental change, such as deforestation, climate change and pollution of waterways. The current options for improving the environmental performance of livestock production are incremental, and more profound transformative system changes are required to improve the sustainability of food systems. Novel food production technologies, such as cellular agriculture have been developed as an aim to provide more sustainable alternative to conventional food production. Cellular agriculture refers to a novel food production sector that utilizes cell-culturing technologies for producing food and materials. One promising product of cellular agriculture is cultured meat where cells of an animal are grown in a bioreactor filled with nutrients and water.
The aim of this study is to analyse the perceptions of German political stakeholders regarding the transformative potential of cellular agriculture. The data consist of thirteen semi-structured theme interviews conducted with stakeholders in Germany that follow a political agenda in the areas of agriculture, nutrition, animal welfare and climate protection. The data was analysed with the Transformative Innovation Policy (TIP) framework that aims to improve the understanding how a political system could be transformed with the help of innovative and radical policies to reach sustainable goals and address current system failures. The six principles of TIP were utilised in assessing transformative potential of cultured meat. Those six principles are directionality, goal, impact, degree of learning and reflexivity, conflict and inclusiveness.
The results indicate a common awareness towards a need to change the current agricultural system. The results show that the perception of cellular agriculture differs with regard to goals or priorities in the political agendas. The direction of the future development of food systems was perceived critically and replacing traditional products with cultured meat was questioned. Some of the stakeholders rather saw a future where alternative protein products replace traditional meat production. Conflicts between potential winners and losers produced by the transformation were discussed: the stakeholders acknowledged that the environment will benefit and big companies will profit from the transformation. Rural areas and the current livestock farmers will suffer the most according to the interviews. Perceptions about inclusiveness or who should be involved and what will be the learning opportunities varied. While some believe that the government should get involved in the production of cultured meat, others anticipated a need for independent research so that the multinational food companies do not appropriate the markets. The analysis revealed the complexity of transforming the food system with a radical innovation such as cellular agriculture: the political stakeholders are neither commonly aware of the current state of the development nor their perceptions align.
Keywords: Cellular Agriculture, Cultured Meat, Interviews Political Stakeholder, Transformative Innovation Policy
TilaJulkaistu - 2020
OKM-julkaisutyyppiEi sovellu
TapahtumaYHYS Colloquium on Measuring and valuing sustainability -
Kesto: 19 marrask. 202020 marrask. 2020


KonferenssiYHYS Colloquium on Measuring and valuing sustainability


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