Reducing meat consumption: The influence of life course transitions, barriers and enablers, and effective strategies according to young Dutch adults

Saskia W. van den Berg, Annelien C. van den Brink, Annemarie Wagemakers, Lea den Broeder

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Abstract

High consumption of animal-source foods, specifically meat, adversely affects human health and the environment. Dietary habits are shaped at younger ages and a reduction in meat consumption may be facilitated by the life course transitions in early adulthood, but studies are limited. This study among young Dutch adults aimed to describe their perceptions on the influence of life course transitions on meat consumption, barriers and enablers to reduce meat consumption, and strategies for reducing meat consumption. Barriers and enablers were grouped applying the COM-B model that includes capability, opportunity, and motivation. This quantitative cross-sectional study included a representative sample of 1806 young adults from two Dutch consumer panels who completed an online survey. Young adults frequently reported life course transitions, especially those related to moving house, to have decreased their meat consumption. Barriers and enablers to reduce meat consumption were identified for all three factors of the COM-B model. Important barriers included taste, perceived high prices of meat alternatives, and habits. In contrast, important enablers included care for the environment and animal welfare, enjoyment of smaller portions of meat and saving money. However, barriers and enablers largely differed by groups of meat consumption frequency. Self-perceived effective strategies for reducing meat consumption were price reduction of meat alternatives, recipes for vegetarian meals, and more attractive meat alternatives. The findings of this study are relevant for the development of targeted behaviour-change programmes including interventions in the physical and the social environment (like lowering prices and improving the offer of meat alternatives).

Original languageEnglish
Article number104623
Pages (from-to)1-14
JournalFood Quality and Preference
Volume100
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2022

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