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A New Way of Eating: Creating Meat Reducers, Vegetarians and Vegans

Grassian, Daniel Trentin (2019) A New Way of Eating: Creating Meat Reducers, Vegetarians and Vegans. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,.

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Abstract

The proportion of the British population reducing their consumption of animal food products has increased dramatically over the last decade, while vegetarian and vegan options are now widely available in supermarkets and restaurants across the UK. This phenomenon presents vital benefits for climate change, environmental degradation, human health and animal welfare. Yet, little research has investigated the rapidly growing trend. A broader understanding of the decision to reduce one's consumption and the cognitive, social and physical processes involved in maintaining dietary changes is essential for policy makers, campaigners and researchers working toward a sustainable future. Meat reduction and vegan campaigns by non-governmental organisations serve as a primary promoter of reduction and present a unique opportunity to research reducers when they may first be seeking a dietary transition. The theoretical framework employed within this dissertation combines the first comprehensive model of behaviour change, the Behaviour Change Wheel (Michie, Atkins and West 2014), with the fields of social consumption and sustainable and ethical consumption to analyse the reducer and the reduction process through a more comprehensive framework. A mixed-methods approach has been used to investigate the barriers, motivators and goals of participants in seven UK-based meat reduction and vegan campaigns through focus groups (n=33) and a longitudinal web-based survey (n=1,587). To the best of the researcher's knowledge, this represents the most comprehensive study of reducers and reduction campaigns to date. Interviews with campaign staff (n=13) and an examination of campaign messaging and strategies have been used to further analyse campaign participation and the reduction process. Findings reveal key trends within highly diverse approaches to reduction, including a reduction hierarchy that prioritises red meat and neglects fish and egg reduction through a tendency for small, gradual dietary changes. While meat reducers were likely to be successful on a short-term basis, they were unlikely to maintain reductions over a prolonged period. Those with the greatest levels of abstention were, instead, the most likely to meet their reduction goals. Animal protection also emerged as key for many reducers, potentially creating a new perspective - a mindshift - that re-positions the animal source within the consumption process. Findings suggest that policy makers, campaigners and advocates need to consider the psycho-social element within the reduction process, with the potential for a wide variety of consumer types and, importantly, the need to not simply address what is consumed but to address normative omnivorous consumption that is formed around a meat component and de-values meatless meals.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Burgess, Adam
Thesis advisor: Zhang, Joy
Thesis advisor: Cunliffe, Jack
Uncontrolled keywords: Meat reduction, consumption, vegetarianism, veganism, interventions
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2019 08:14 UTC
Last Modified: 22 Jan 2020 04:12 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/76482 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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