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Examining Factors of Public Acceptance of Plant-based Meat Alternatives in Russia

Student: Georgii Zheleznyi

Supervisor: Irina Bazileva

Faculty: Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge

Educational Programme: Governance of Science, Technology and Innovation (Master)

Year of Graduation: 2021

The current master thesis is devoted to the examination of public acceptance of plant-based meat alternatives in Russia. The introductory part of the thesis observes such phenomena as plant-based meat alternatives through the prism of sustainability. It is common that there are three main pillars of sustainability – environmental, social, and economic. Ecological and social aspects of alternative meat are briefly discussed in the introductory part based on the literature. The second sub-chapter of the introduction covers the economic aspects. Namely, it provides one with an overview of the global and Russian markets of plant-based meat alternatives. The main trends affecting both markets are also explained. Estimated market volumes are presented based on the assessments of the leading consulters and the analysis conducted by the author. In the chapter devoted to the literature review, numerous sources are observed and the main ideas and generalizations are synthesized. It includes a sub-chapter of the short history and background of plant-based meat alternatives, a description of technologies employed by the industry, and its value chain explanation. The second part of the literature review gives a closed outlook at factors of public acceptance of plant-based meat alternatives. Three main concerns – environment, ethics, and health are discussed and the findings in the literature are summarized. Other drivers of adoption of alternative meat extracted from the existing research consumers are presented. A summarized list of factors of public acceptance of plant-based meat alternatives is created by the author as the result. The last sub-chapter of the literature review presents a regional analysis of public acceptance of meat alternatives. The part depicts the results of the author’s analysis of rates of adoption over the world. The methodology chapter begins with the theoretical foundations of the current research. The theory of diffusion of innovations was chosen as the theoretical framework in order to make the research legit and the results comparable. The main characteristics of innovations proposed by the theory are described – relative advantages, compatibility, complexity, trialability, and observability. A three-step research design is provided and a quantitative research method (survey) is reasoned. Based on the literature review and the chosen theory, six hypotheses are formulated and a questionnaire for the survey is developed. After completing the online data collection, 155 observations were suitable for further processing. The findings chapter provides one with the results of the statistical analysis conducted by the author. It describes first the socio-demographic profiles of the respondents and the outcomes of the reliability statistics. Cluster and factor analyses were also employed to assess the structure of the sample. The main test to validate the hypotheses was linear regression. The results of the regression run for the data are summarized and matched with the hypotheses. The last part of the findings has the results of analysis of socio-demographic factors that might potentially influence the public acceptance of plant-based meat alternatives. The last chapter provides one with the conclusions made by the author based on the results of the research. The hypotheses under considerations are closely observed and the decisions regarding acceptance or rejection are made for each one. The summarized table of validated hypotheses is provided. The final model of public acceptance of plant-based meat alternatives in Russia is created based on the results of the statistical analysis and illustrated. The limitations, future research suggestions, and potential implications of the current research are formulated and bring the thesis to close.

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