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Real Chicken or Plant-Based? American Shoppers Want Clearer Labeling.

Have you ever accidentally purchased a plant-based ‘chicken’ product, mistaking it for real chicken? If so, you’re not alone! The National Chicken Council (NCC) recently announced findings from a nationally representative survey* regarding consumer attitudes about chicken and plant-based ‘chicken.’ Study results found that 21% of Americans have accidentally purchased the wrong product due to plant-based product labeling imitating that of authentic chicken products too closely. 

The individuals surveyed contained a mix of those who eat meat and animal products, flexitarians, vegetarians and vegans. The key takeaway? The majority of Americans want clearer product labeling and separate shopping sections for plant-based products. As more plant-based products populate grocery store shelves and freezers, consumers want to be sure they’re purchasing the products they intended to buy.  

Whether Americans eat meat or not, and whether they’ve accidentally purchased the wrong item or not, consumers are showing support across the board for distinct product labeling. Survey results indicate: 

  • 4 in 5 Americans want plant-based options to be clearly labeled.  
  • At least 3 in 5 Americans feel real chicken and plant-based ‘chicken’ should have their own distinct grocery sections to help eliminate product confusion at the store. 
  • 69% of Americans agree the term “meat” should only refer to products made from animals. 

The survey results also found that consumers, including those who eat plant-based ‘chicken,’ prefer authentic chicken for its taste, affordability and cooking versatility.  

In light of these new survey findings, the NCC has written to the leadership of both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to urge the agencies to issue clearer guidance defining how to name these plant-based products and prioritize enforcement for products marketed in a misleading manner.  

To learn more and read the NCC comments in full, click here. For a variety of delicious chicken recipes, as well as safety and handling tips, visit the Chicken Roost.  


*These findings are derived from an online survey of a nationally representative sample of 1,164 American consumers, including 767 individuals who regularly eat meat, 352 flexitarians, 125 vegetarians and 75 vegans, that was fielded between April 27 and May 8, 2022 at the 95% confidence level with a margin of error of +/-3.1%.