Sustainability;Volume 10, Issue 9
Food production is associated with various environmental impacts and the production of meat is highlighted as a signiﬁcant source of greenhouse gas emissions. A transition toward plant-based and low-meat diets has thus been emphasised as an important contribution to reducing climate change. By combining results from a consumer survey, focus group interviews and an in-store ﬁeld experiment, this article investigates whether Norwegian consumers are ready to make food choices based on what is environmentally sustainable. We ask how consumers perceive the environmental impacts of food consumption, whether they are willing and able to change their food consumption in a more climate friendly direction, and what inﬂuences their perceptions and positions. The results show that there is uncertainty among consumers regarding what constitutes climateor environmentally friendly food choices and that few consumers are motivated to change their food consumption patterns for climate- or environmental reasons. Consumers’ support to initiatives, such as eating less meat and increasing the prices of meat, are partly determined by the consumers’ existing value orientation and their existing consumption practices. Finally, we ﬁnd that although providing information about the climate beneﬁts of eating less meat has an effect on vegetable purchases, this does not seem to mobilise consumer action anymore than the provision of information about the health beneﬁts of eating less meat does. The article concludes that environmental policies aiming to transfer part of the responsibility for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to food consumers is being challenged by the fact that most consumers are still not ready to make food choices based on what is best for the climate or environment.
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