Reducing meat consumption in meat-loving Denmark: Exploring willingness, behavior, barriers and drivers

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Lower meat consumption benefits public health and the environment. This study examined public willingness to reduce meat consumption in Denmark, and the drivers and barriers involved. An online survey (n = 1005), representative of the Danish population, carried out in 2019 measured meat dietary habits and willingness to reduce meat intake using the Stages of Change model, and barriers to, and drivers of, reduction. Approximately 3.5% of those surveyed did not eat meat (vegetarians/vegans), 57% had no intention to reduce their meat intake (with 5% planning to increase it). About 11.5% intended to reduce, and 27.5% had already reduced their meat intake (a slightly higher share than previously observed). Importantly, those stating that they had already reduced also ate significantly fewer meals with meat than those with no intention or an intention only. Drivers of meat reduction included awareness of the climate impact of meat and social networks containing meat reducers and avoiders. Barriers included food neophobia, identity incongruence, habitual behavior and practical difficulties. Strategies should focus on meat reduction, not exclusion, as completely removing meat from the diet was unpopular. As barriers and drivers differed with stage, we call for specialized campaigns. Consumers not intending to reduce meat intake could potentially be persuaded by climate awareness campaigns, and by promotion of small adaptations to familiar meals. Consumers intending to reduce meat intake may be prompted to do so by health awareness campaigns, changes to the choice architecture and increased availability of meatless meals.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104257
JournalFood Quality and Preference
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2021

ID: 262811435