Consumer Acceptance of Future Foods (CAFF) Conference

The innovation of future foods in APAC is continuing to increase, whether that is the creation of novel alternative proteins, new methods for growing fruits and vegetables or utilising food waste into products. Whilst most research available focuses on product innovation and manufacturing, consumers are fundamental to the success of future foods, and it is essential to understand their perceptions, acceptance and consumption.

In this conference, we aim to bring together researchers across the APAC region and showcase research that focuses on consumer perceptions of future foods. Through an exciting programme filled with short talks and flash presentations, we hope to provide a platform that shares insights into understanding current consumer perceptions and generates discussions for the future directions of research on consumer acceptance of future foods. 

Conference Details

Consumer Acceptance of Future Foods in Asia Pacific  
Date: 28th February 2024, Wednesday
Time: 9:00am - 2:30pm (GMT +8)
The conference is free to attend and will be hosted virtually through Zoom.

Register your interest here to receive a calendar invite and the Zoom link to the conference. 

Conference Schedule


Arunika Pillay
Dr. Arunika Pillay
Senior Research Officer I

Speaker: Dr. Arunika Pillay

Organisation: Singapore Institute of Clinical Sciences (SICS), A*STAR

Talk Title: Child and parent perceptions of alternative proteins in Singapore: A qualitative study

Speaker Information: Dr. Arunika Pillay has a background in clinical psychology and has recently turned her attention towards perceptions and acceptance of future foods, specifically ethical substitutes for traditional animal protein. She is interested in understanding how perceptions and intentions to consume alternative proteins translate to changes in consumption behaviour. 

Abstract: Singapore aims to produce 30% of its nutritional needs locally by 2030. If accepted and integrated into local diets, alternative proteins could be instrumental in achieving this. However, findings are predominantly based on Western adult populations and perceptions of children are currently unknown. We conducted semi-structured focus groups with child (9-15 years) and parent (21-64 years) pairs (n=19) in Singapore to explore (i) perceptions of plant-based meat, cultivated meat and insect proteins and (ii) the facilitators and barriers to consumption. An inductive (reflexive thematic analysis) and deductive approach (using the COM-B) was used to identify and interpret themes as well as facilitators and barriers. Overall, we found greater awareness and acceptance of plant-based meat than cultivated meat and insect protein. Perceptions of the three alternative proteins centred around similarity to traditional meat, health and safety, convenience, socio-cultural norms, and family influences. The facilitators and barriers were organised across the capability, opportunity and motivation model of behaviour change. Examples include a lack of cooking skills and awareness as barriers to consuming plant-based meat (capability), preference for naturalness and interest in sustainability as facilitators for insect protein (motivation), and unavailability and religious restrictions as barriers for cultivated meat (opportunity). A few facilitators and barriers differed between parents and children. Children displayed strong emotions (e.g. disgust) and placed greater emphasis on sensory appeal, animal welfare, and parents’ opinions. Parents exhibited food technology neophobia and considered long-term risks, health benefits and children’s preferences. These findings highlight the importance of continued research to understand perceptions across different consumer segments.

Keri Matwick
Dr. Keri Matwick
Senior Lecturer

Speaker: Dr. Keri Matwick

Organisation: Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

Talk title: Consumer Perception Towards Future Foods in Singapore: A social media analysis of alternative protein discourse

Speaker Information: Dr. Keri Matwick is a Senior Lecturer at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. A linguist and food scholar, she is currently working on a grant to study the discourse of alternative proteins in Singapore's traditional and social media. 

Abstract: Future foods, especially foods considered high-quality protein sources, have become a priority of Singapore research and development. An island nation with limited natural resources, Singapore imports 90% of its nutritional needs, making it vulnerable to trade supply shortages, increasing inflation rates, and transportation disruptions. A government priority has been to invest in the technology of future foods, primarily in meat alternative sources. But how are consumers responding to these new foods? And where are we talking about them? This presentation examines Singapore social media gathered from 1 Jul 2022 – 30 June 2023 to gauge consumer receptivity and perception towards future foods, specifically plant-based food, cell-based food, fermentation, insect protein, and microalgae.  

Dr. Ivy Gan
Dr. Ivy Gan 
Consumer Scientist

Speaker: Dr. Ivy Gan

Organisation: The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited

Talk Title: Cultured foods – a just future of food? Findings from Australian and New Zealand consumers

Speaker Information: Dr. Ivy Gan is a consumer scientist specialised in understanding consumers and their experiences with food in specific social-cultural contexts. She actively participates in research projects that investigate stakeholders' and consumers' perceptions, attitudes, and emotions towards a diverse array of food products and food technologies. The focus of her work also extends to exploring the underlying values influencing individuals’ and society’s acceptance or rejection of certain food products, dietary options, lifestyle choices, both in New Zealand and other countries.

Abstract: Cellular agriculture (CellAg) is a rapidly progressing field in food technology, featuring a new approach to producing food directly from cells, eliminating the need for conventional farming and cultivation. Currently, research on CellAg is predominately concentrated on animal products, including meat and dairy, with some efforts expanding to cultured fish, fruits, and vegetables using the same approach. As a result, existing consumer insights regarding CellAg also primarily revolve around cultured meat, highlighting the necessity for a more comprehensive understanding of consumer acceptance of CellAg across different categories. To address this gap, 12 focus groups were conducted in Australia and New Zealand in 2023, exploring consumer perceptions and attitudes towards cultured foods in the forms of meat, fish, and fruits within an imaginary future scenario.

The findings initially revealed participants' perspectives on various ethical implications of CellAg, encompassing environmental sustainability, animal welfare, social justice and equity, cultural and religious practices, and individual health and well-being. Most participants expressed optimism regarding CellAg's potential to mitigate the environmental impact of traditional food production and enhance animal welfare by minimising the need for raising and slaughtering animals. Additionally, participants welcomed the prospect of cultured foods offering personalised dietary solutions, although concerns about long-term health effects persisted. However, divergent opinions were found regarding whether CellAg could promote social justice and equity, particularly in relation to food security, nutrition outcomes, and technology ownership. Interestingly, it was also found that presenting cultured foods across categories (meat, fish, and fruits/vegetables) might ease participants into trying cultured foods because they could start with their ‘gateway drug option,’ which was fruits and vegetables for many. In summary, participants exhibited open attitudes and interest in CellAg as an alternative for future food production, offering valuable insights into the evolving discourse on the acceptance of cultured foods.

Ms. Jennifer Morgan
Ms. Jennifer Morgan
Corporate Engagement Manager

Divya Gandhi
Ms. Divya Gandhi
Research Specialist

Speakers: Ms. Jennifer Morgan & Ms. Divya Gandhi

Organisation: The Good Food Institute APAC

Talk title: Decoding demand - the appetite for alternative proteins in Southeast Asia

Speakers Information: Jennifer Morton is GFI APAC’s Corporate Engagement Manager, working to widen and deepen engagement and partnerships across the alternative protein supply chain. Prior to joining GFI, Jennifer was a strategy consultant in the Netherlands and Singapore with a focus on sustainability, social impact, and agriculture. She has worked with multinationals, SMEs, agribusinesses, governments, financial institutions, and non-profits in the agriculture sector and beyond to design sustainability strategies, develop sustainable supply chains, and forge multi-stakeholder partnerships for systems-wide change. Jennifer holds an MSc in Corporate Social Responsibility and an MA (Hons) in International Relations. 

Divya Gandhi is the Research Specialist at GFI APAC, and works to develop industry intelligence to catalyse alternative protein success. Prior to joining GFI, Divya worked in consulting and strategy and has experience working with governments and donor partners, such as the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, on large-scale strategic and project implementation advisory engagements. She has designed and implemented multiple campaigns for government and non-government entities, and her professional experience spans a wide variety of countries, including Cambodia, India, the Philippines, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Togo, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.

Abstract: With Singapore emerging as a regional hub for alternative protein development, the growth of startups and corporate brands across the APAC region, and the increased availability of alternative protein products, there is a growing need to understand how to grow the market for alternative proteins in the region. What drives Southeast Asian consumers to choose these products? Who are the current and future consumers? How do alternative proteins interact with existing dietary habits and conventional protein sources? How do consumers view current products? This consumer insights report by GFI APAC aims to answer these questions using a mixed-methods approach, including desk research, qualitative discussions, and a quantitative survey focusing on plant-based meat in six countries in the region: Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Phuah Kit Teng
Dr. Phuah Kit Teng
Associate Professor

Speaker: Dr. Phuah Kit Teng

Organisation: Tunku Abdul Rahman University of Management and Technology, Malaysia

Talk title: Could Insects be the Wonder Food of the Future?

Speaker Information: Dr. Phuah Kit Teng is an Associate Professor at Tunku Rahman University of Management and Technology, where she brings a wealth of experience as a researcher specializing in agribusiness and food marketing. Her research encompasses a wide range of topics including entomophagy, pet food, eco-tourism, innovative culinary practices, genetically modified food, Halal-labeled products, green food, and natural and synthetic functional food. With a track record of authoring impactful articles, Kit Teng has led and contributed to multiple research grants.

Abstract: The rising global population requires a reassessment of traditional food production methods due to their negative impacts on water consumption, land use, and greenhouse gas emissions. These conventional methods are no longer sustainable in the long term. One potential solution involves incorporating edible insects into the existing food supply chain. Edible insects offer significant nutritional value, demonstrate environmental friendliness, and enjoy positive taste perceptions. Despite ample evidence highlighting the benefits of insect consumption as a sustainable protein source, public acceptance remains a considerable hurdle. Therefore, it is crucial to explore consumers' willingness to adopt insect-based food products. Recognizing this challenge, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has taken the initiative to formulate a policy and propose a program that includes insects as alternative food sources. Entomophagy, defined as the consumption of edible insects, presents several advantages, such as deriving from natural resources, requiring minimal feed, and offering environmental and nutritional benefits. This research aims to uncover the factors influencing consumer acceptance of insect consumption, providing valuable insights for companies seeking successful development and marketing of insect-based products. A "bug tasting session" was conducted, allowing participants to decide whether to sample various insects, including mole cricket, silkworm, and black soldier fly. Following the "bug banquet," engagement with participants gauged their willingness to try different insects in the future and whether they would recommend the experience to others.

Contact Information

For any enquiries regarding the conference, feel free to contact the research team at:

This event is hosted by the Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR).