Advocating Meat Reduction and Vegetarianism to US Adults
A comprehensive study on the meat consumption habits of U.S. adults, focusing in particular on meat reduction and the motivations for encouraging meat reduction.
Although most adults in the U.S. are maintaining the same level of meat consumption, those who have made recent changes are three times more likely to have reduced rather than increased how much meat they eat. Meat reducers and semi-vegetarians are significant segments of the adult population, while actual vegetarians and vegans remain a small minority.
Dietary choices — including meat reduction and vegetarianism — are most heavily influenced by a sense of self-interest. Taste preferences and personal health concerns are the greatest influences, rather than concerns about animals or the environment, a finding that presents both opportunities and challenges for vegetarian advocates. Specifically, health reasons are the drivers of meat reduction, while taste preferences are the leading barrier to meat reduction.
What consumers segments represent the most easily persuaded audiences for advocates of meat reduction and vegetarianism? Faunalytics found that women and older consumers are most likely to be semi-vegetarians and also more likely than others to intend to reduce their meat consumption in the future. More than two-thirds of current semi-vegetarians and two-thirds of potential vegetarians are female, while more than half of intended meat reducers are age 45 or older.
For most adults in the U.S., eliminating meat is a frightening or even unhealthy notion. Almost 8 in 10 say that they are “not at all likely” to ever give up eating meat entirely. So what’s a vegetarian advocate to do? In this report, Faunalytics discusses “incremental advocacy, “an approach supported by social marketing and behavior research that responds to the fact that most people resist making big or abrupt changes. The approach is also consistent with Faunalytics’ finding that most adults perceive completely eschewing animal products to be both an “extreme” and an unhealthy choice.