Targeting interventions to distinct meat-eating groups reduces meat consumption

Elsevier, Food Quality and Preference, Volume 86, December 2020, 103997
Authors: 
Karine Lacroix and Robert Gifford

Targeted interventions have important under-explored potential for reducing meat consumption. We hypothesized that group-specific interventions targeting reduction for reducer, moderate-hindrance, and strong-hindrance meat eaters would be effective. All participants were randomly assigned to one of three treatment conditions designed for these three meat-eating groups, or to a control condition. Following the intervention, up to 28 days of food diaries were gathered to measure their consumption of animal products, which were weighted according to their greenhouse gas emissions. The targeted interventions significantly outperformed the non-targeted interventions. That is, participants in the group-matched (i.e., targeted) conditions reduced their animal product consumption by 40 g of CO2 per day on average, which is approximately equivalent to replacing one chicken-based meal with a vegetarian meal per week, whereas participants in the mismatched conditions showed no significant reduction. The findings suggest that diet-related interventions should focus on supporting meat reducers’ existing behavior intentions, whereas emphasizing meat substitution is a more promising approach for habitual (strong-hindrance) meat eaters.