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Sustainability 2018, 10(9), 3058; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10093058

Consumer Readiness to Reduce Meat Consumption for the Purpose of Environmental Sustainability: Insights from Norway

1
Consumption Research Norway, Oslo Metropolitan University, P.O. BOX 4, St. Olavs plass, N-0130 Oslo, Norway
2
School of Economics and Business, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, P.O. BOX 5003 NMBU, N-1432 Ås, Norway
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 14 August 2018 / Accepted: 23 August 2018 / Published: 28 August 2018
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Abstract

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 climate- or 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 any more 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. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; consumers; meat; sustainable consumption; environment; survey; focus group interviews; in-store experiment climate change; consumers; meat; sustainable consumption; environment; survey; focus group interviews; in-store experiment
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Austgulen, M.H.; Skuland, S.E.; Schjøll, A.; Alfnes, F. Consumer Readiness to Reduce Meat Consumption for the Purpose of Environmental Sustainability: Insights from Norway. Sustainability 2018, 10, 3058.

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