Crisis in the Meat Industry: A Values-based Approach to Communications Strategy

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Short Description:
This research investigates motivations for being vegan or vegetarian and for reducing meat consumption. The authors find that meat-reducers have different motivations than vegetarians and vegans. Meat-reducers' criteria for food selection are more similar to meat eaters than to vegetarians. The authors conclude that meat-reducers may not be people on the path to vegetarianism, but rather a totally different segment of the population.

Article Abstract:

"Meat consumption in the UK has been falling for almost 20 years and the long-standing link between affluence and meat eating has been broken. In 10 years the proportion of the population claiming to be vegan or vegetarian doubled, while those identified as meat avoiders almost quadrupled with a further 40% now being classified as 'meat reducers' by Gallup. Means-End analysis was used for studying the underlying motivations of three groups: meat eaters, meat reducers and vegetarians. Health was found to be the central issue in food choice, but each group sought different terminal values."

"The view that meat reducers (and possibly even meat avoiders) are demi-vegetarians is challenged by the finding that their underlying motivations are similar to meat consumers and quite unlike those of vegetarians. Persuading meat reducers to adopt a vegetarian diet would require the difficult task of changing the enduring terminal values that they seek to attain through food choice behaviour. In contrast, persuading them to eat more meat would 'only' be a question of changing their beliefs about the healthiness of meat consumption. This paper reports on a study conducted in the UK and considers the implications of the findings for communications strategy."

Spot Check Number: 1987
Sponsor: Cranfield University
Researcher/Author: Susan Baker, Keith E. Thompson & David Palmer-Barnes
Research Method: In Person Interview/Survey
Geographic Region: International
Number of Participants: 30
Population Descriptors: United Kingdom, Vegetarians, Vegans, Meat-reducers
Year Conducted: 2002

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