High levels of meat consumption are increasingly being criticised for ethical, environmental and social reasons. Plant-based meat substitutes have been identified as healthy sources of protein that, in comparison to meat, offer a number of social, environmental and health benefits and may play a role in reducing meat consumption. However, there has been a lack of research on the role they can play in the policy agenda and how specific meat substitute attributes can influence consumers to partially replace meat in their diets. This paper is focused on consumers’ preferences for so-called meathybrid or plant-meathybrid products. In meathybrids, only a fraction of the meat product (e.g., 20% to 50%) is replaced with plant-based proteins. Research demonstrates that in many countries, consumers are highly attached to meat and consider it as an essential and integral element of their daily diet. For these consumers that are not interested in vegan or vegetarian alternatives as meat substitutes, meathybrids could be a low-threshold option for a more sustainable food consumption behaviour. In this paper, the results of an online survey with 500 German and 501 Belgian consumers are presented. The results show that more than fifty percent of consumers substitute meat at least occasionally. Thus, about half of the respondents reveal an eligible consumption behaviour with respect to sustainability and healthiness, at least sometimes. The applied discrete choice experiment demonstrated that the analysed meat products are the most preferred by consumers. Nonetheless, the tested meathybrid variants with different shares of plant-based proteins took the second position followed by the vegetarian-based alternatives. Therefore, meathybrids could facilitate the diet transition of meat-eaters in the direction toward a more healthy and sustainable consumption. The analysed consumer segment is more open-minded to the meathybrid concept in comparison to the vegetarian substitutes.
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