Cultured meat is an emerging food innovation that promises to be a more sustainable alternative to conventional meat. However, despite its potential health, environmental and animal welfare benefits, research suggests that consumer acceptance of cultured meat is not assured. Across two pre-registered experimental studies (N = 456), this article investigates the extent to which two different credence characteristics, namely corporate social responsibility (Study 1) and food safety (Study 2), lead to halo-based inferences that may affect the consumer acceptance of cultured meat. Results indicate that, whereas the halo effect of positive corporate behavior is negligible, negative corporate behavior yields a substantial negative halo effect on consumers’ attitudes towards cultured meat, which in turn decreases acceptance of cultured meat. Findings also reveal that these negative halo-based inferences are heightened among consumers who value highly corporate social responsibility (Study 1) and food safety (Study 2). Overall, this article reveals an asymmetric halo effect by showing that people tend to react strongly to negative, but not to positive, information about a cultured meat company. The implications of the present research are discussed in the conclusion.
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