In this project, we conducted focus group studies discussing purchasing, cooking, and eating meat and meat substitutes to uncover what sorts of psychological barriers people experience that might prevent them from replacing meat with more sustainable products.
A key lifestyle change people could make to reduce their environmental impact is to reduce their meat consumption. However, meat is still a staple in many people's diet, and some consumers are reluctant to cut down.
Meat substitutes, if accepted as adequate replacements for meat, may offer a suitable alternative without leaving consumers feeling dissatisfied. The aim of the present study was to identify psychological barriers to reducing meat consumption and increasing use of meat substitutes among Swedish consumers. Participants engaged in focus group discussions around purchasing, preparing, and consuming meat and meat substitutes.
Four main themes were identified through thematic analysis: uncertainty, scepticism, health, and identity. These are discussed in relation to previous work on the barriers to reducing meat consumption. Strategies to communicate the environmental impact of meat to consumers and effect change through behavioural interventions are considered.